A third of real estate professionals reported assisting their clients with buying or selling a property that had green sustainability features over the past year, according to the 2021 REALTORS® and Sustainability Report, released this week by the National Association of REALTORS® based on a survey of about 5,000 REALTORS®. Sixty-five percent of REALTORS® surveyed say that promoting energy efficiency in listings was valuable.
More multiple listing services are adding green data fields to spotlight sustainability home features. Thirty-six percent of REALTORS® said their MLS had green data fields. Real estate pros say they used those fields to promote green property features, highlight energy information, or list any green certifications the home had.
More than half of REALTORS® say their clients are interested in sustainability. A survey earlier this year from the National Association of Home Builders showed some of the most desirable green features buyers wanted are Energy Star–rated windows and appliances, efficient lighting that uses less energy than traditional bulbs, and a good Energy Star rating for the whole house. On average, buyers showed a willingness to pay up to $9,292 more for a home in order to save $1,000 annually on utility costs, according to the NAHB’s study.
Green features can also boost the sales price of a home. The NAR survey showed that 40% of REALTORS® said solar panels helped increase a home’s perceived property value. Also, 22% of REALTORS® said that a high-performance home—one with home improvements that are focused on indoor health, operational efficiency, and durability—increased the dollar value offered compared with similar homes on the market.
REALTORS® ranked the following features as most important to their clients: windows, doors, and siding (39%); proximity to frequently visited places (38%); a comfortable living space (37%); a home’s utility bill and operating costs (23%); and commuting costs (15%). Fourteen percent of REALTORS® also said that a neighborhood’s walkability was very important to their clients, and 8% considered access to bike lanes and paths to be important.
“A growing number of consumers are seeking homes with features that are good for the environment and, by extension, good for their wallets by reducing utility expenses in the long run,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. “The pandemic has led to an increased focus on wellness and sustainability and is an important variable in the overall equation for some people.”