Survey: green homes do not always cost more

Survey: green homes do not always cost more

Homes with eco-friendly features do not always command a premium price tag in today's hot housing market, according to analysis from realtor.com, a leading online real estate destination.

Realtor.com analyzed current listings in the top 200 U.S. metros to determine the market availability of "green" homes with any of seven eco-friendly features, such as solar panels, smart thermostats or bamboo floors and evaluated how much more – or less – these homes may cost a prospective homebuyer.

"Although Southern and Western states still lead the way in green technology adoption, eco-friendly features have grown in popularity across many regions of the United States," said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com. "Many buyers have come to expect standard features, and homes integrating specialty green features are becoming more mainstream. However, in today's inventory-starved market, location still reigns supreme, and the price of land can easily override the allure of special eco-friendly features."

The "greenest" metro of them all

Prospective homebuyers in the Fort Collins, Colorado, metro area have the highest likelihood of finding a home with integrated "green" features, with 36 percent of its April 2018 listings noting at least one sustainable living feature. Following closely behind are the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas and San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif., metro areas at 35 percent of listings each.

Although homes with eco-friendly features are four percent more expensive than the median home price in the Dallas metro area, there is essentially no price difference between "green" homes and the median home price in Fort Collins. Notably, homebuyers looking in Sunnyvale/San Jose/Santa Clara may find homes with sustainable living features for five percent less than the local median home price.

Of the top 10 "green" metros, buyers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will pay the biggest premium – 19 percent – if buying a home with existing eco-friendly features is a priority. Those in Salinas, California, have the biggest price advantage, as "green" listings are 14 percent below the median home price. However, while three California metros show that "green" homes are less expensive relative to the median home price in their respective areas, keep in mind that the median home price in each metro is significantly higher than those in other states.

Solar panels soak up the sun in California and Arizona

California dominated seven of the top 10 markets with the highest concentration of listings featuring solar panels, with the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., area leading the list at 6.1 percent of total listed homes. Salinas, Calif., and Arizona's Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro areas follow closely behind at 4.8 percent and 4.6 percent of total listings featuring solar panels, respectively.

Good news for buyers who want integrated solar panels in their new home: every market aside from Prescott, Arizona, and Fresno, California, showed that prices of homes with solar panels were the same or less than the median home price in each market. In Salinas, Calif., buyers save on average $233,850 on homes featuring solar panels when compared to the metro's median listing price of $917,050. However, in Prescott, Ariz., new homeowners will need to add $78,200 to the metro's median home price of $400,050.

Programmable thermostats heat up home prices in Oklahoma, AlabamaandTexas

Homes featuring programmable thermostats will likely cost homebuyers more, adding up to 20 percent in Montgomery, Ala., 17 percent in Tulsa, Okla., 15 percent in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas metro area, and 12 percent in the Oklahoma City metro area.

The Tulsa metro area has the highest proportion of smart thermostat home listings at 31 percent, followed by San Antonio at 28 percent and Fort Collins, Colorado, at 25 percent.

Some of the price differences may be attributed to the fact that median home prices in these four metros are all below the national median price of $280,000, ranging from $176,944 for Montgomery, Alabama, to $239,650 for Oklahoma City.

Energy Star-rated homes shine bright (and costly) in Connecticut

Four Connecticut metros have the highest concentration of Energy Star-rated home listings currently on the market, but most homebuyers will need to pay between 21 to 26 percent more than the median home price per square foot.

Energy Star-rated homes make up four percent of current listings in each of Connecticut's Norwich-New London, Hartford, and New Haven-Milford metro areas, adding 26 percent, 21 percent and 24 percent more to the price per square foot, respectively. Energy Star-rated homes in the Greensboro-High Point, N.C., metro, the fifth highest concentration market at 1 percent of total listings, will cost buyers 41 percent more per square foot.

Of the top five metros, the only one that does not require a premium is the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area, where Energy Star-rated homes account for slightly over 3 percent of active listings. While the median home price is the most expensive of the top five metros at $792,050, buyers can save $37,050 on average for an Energy Star-rated home.

Top Markets with Green Amenities
Ranking of the top 200 largest U.S. metros with the highest percentage of active listings featuring at least one of seven "green" amenities in April 2018

Rank

U.S. Metro

Metro median
price per
square foot

Feature median
price per square
foot

Price per
Square Foot %
Difference

1

Fort Collins, Colo.

$170.4

$171

0%

2

Dallas-Fort Worth-
Arlington, Texas

$139.1

$144

4%

3

San Jose-Sunnyvale -Santa
Clara, Calif.

$738.9

$701

-5%

4

San Antonio-New
Braunfels, Texas

$128.8

$130

1%

5

Tulsa, Okla.

$96.7

$115

19%

6

Boulder, Colo.

$257.7

$267

4%

7

Salinas, Calif.

$498.5

$429

-14%

8

Atlanta-Sandy Springs -
Roswell, Ga.

$121.5

$132

9%

9

McAllen-Edinburg- Mission,
Texas

$93.2

$107

15%

10

Santa Cruz- Watsonville,
Calif.

$565.7

$544

-4%

 

Top Markets: Solar
Ranking of the top 200 largest U.S. metros with the highest percentage of active listings featuring solar panels in April 2018

Rank

U.S. Metro

Percentage
of "green"
homes

Metro median
price per square
foot

Feature median
price per square
foot

Price per 
Square Foot %
Difference

1

San Jose-Sunnyvale -Santa
Clara, Calif.

6.1%

$738.9

$623

-16%

2

Salinas, Calif.

4.8%

$498.5

$373

-25%

3

Phoenix-Mesa- Scottsdale,
Ariz.

4.6%

$166.7

$156

-6%

4

San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.

3.3%

$378

$368

-3%

5

Prescott, Ariz.

2.7%

$188.7

$211

12%

6

Riverside-San Bernardino-
Ontario, Calif.

2.5%

$203

$197

-3%

7

Los Angeles-Long Beach-
Anaheim, Calif.

2.2%

$431.7

$394

-9%

8

Fresno, Calif.

2.1%

$165.2

$168

2%

9

Visalia-Porterville, Calif.

2.1%

$146.7

$147

0%

10

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-
Ventura, Calif.

1.9%

$373

$361

-3%

 

Top Markets: Programmable Thermostats
Ranking of the top 200 largest U.S. metros with the highest percentage of active listings featuring programmable thermostats in April 2018

Rank

U.S. Metro

Percentage
of "green"
homes

Metro median
price per square 
foot

Feature median
price per square
foot

Price per
Square Foot %
Difference

1

Tulsa, Okla.

31.3%

$96.7

$113

17%

2

San Antonio-New Braunfels,
Texas

28.4%

$128.8

$131

2%

3

Fort Collins, Colo.

24.9%

$170.4

$171

0%

4

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-
Roswell, Ga.

19.7%

$121.5

$132

9%

5

McAllen-Edinburg-

Mission, Texas

17.9%

$93.2

$107

15%

6

Boulder, Colo.

14.6%

$257.7

$248

-4%

7

Montgomery, Ala.

13.3%

$89.1

$107

20%

8

Oklahoma City, Okla.

11.8%

$114.7

$129

12%

9

Greeley, Colo.

8.1%

$137.6

$136

-1%

10

Salinas, Calif.

7.7%

$498.5

$490

-2%

 

Top Markets: Energy Star-Rated Homes
Ranking of the top 200 largest U.S. metros with the highest percentage of active listings featuring Energy Star-rated homes in April 2018

Rank

U.S. Metro

Percentage of 
"green"
homes

Metro median
price per
square foot

Feature median
price per square
foot

Price per
Square Foot %
Difference

1

Norwich-New London, 
Conn.

3.9%

$158.4

$199

26%

2

Hartford-West Hartford-
East Hartford, Conn.

3.9%

$152.4

$185

21%

3

New Haven-Milford, Conn.

3.8%

$160.1

$198

24%

4

Bridgeport-Stamford-
Norwalk, Conn.

3.2%

$298.7

$279

-7%

5

Greensboro-High Point, N.C.

1.2%

$102.6

$145

41%

 

Methodology
Realtor.com looked at the active home listings in April 2018 to see which of the top 200 largest U.S. metro areas had the highest share of homes that included "green" features. To qualify for the list, the metro must have at least 30 listings that included the "green" feature. The eco-friendly features included for analysis are solar panels, bamboo flooring, smart thermostats, Energy Star-rated homes, Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ventilation, dual pane windows and Energy Star appliances.

Read more about building a green home.


Topics: Appliances, Building Green, Certification / LEED, Energy Audits, Energy Star, Geothermal Heating & Cooling, Heating & Cooling, Solar Power, Sustainability Trends & Statistics


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