Consumer demand continues to be more eco-friendly

Consumer demand continues to be more eco-friendly

WASHINGTON – April 22, 2019 – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) released its Sustainability 2019 Report to coincide with Earth Day, April 22. It found that consumer demand in real estate continues to trend eco-friendly.

The report is in its third iteration. It surveyed Realtors about sustainability issues in the residential and commercial real estate markets, and the preferences they’re seeing in consumers in their communities.

According to the report, 59 percent of respondents found that residential consumers were very or somewhat interested in sustainability. Seven in 10 residential and commercial agents and brokers said that promoting a property’s energy efficiency in listings is either somewhat or very valuable.

“The state of the environment is important to our members and their business practices, and the report shows that sustainability impacts consumers’ home buying decisions as well,” says NAR President John Smaby. “Realtors remain on the cutting edge of sustainability and continue to lead the conversation about energy efficiency in real estate.”

A large majority of respondents (83 percent) said that solar panels were available in their markets, and 36 percent said that solar panels increased the perceived property value. However, only 8 percent of those surveyed said that solar panels decreased the perceived amount of time a home spent on the market. Solar panels are most prevalent in the Northeast (available in 94 percent of markets) and respondents in the West were the most likely to report they increase property value (41 percent).

Twenty-five percent of brokers indicated that tiny homes – homes that are 600 square feet or less – are available in their markets, a 2 percent increase from 2018. Only 13 percent of respondents said that wind farms were available in their markets.

The transportation and commuting features that Realtors stated are very or somewhat important to their clients include: easy access to highways (82 percent), short commute times and distance to work (81 percent) and walkability (51 percent) – the same as 2018.

Forty-one percent of respondents were aware that their Multiple Listing Service (MLS), has green data fields; 14 percent were unaware. Among those that do have green data fields, 35 percent of respondents use them to promote green features, 26 percent use to promote energy information and 14 percent use to promote green certifications.

Two out of five Realtors (39 percent) said they’re comfortable or extremely comfortable talking about green features; 40 percent of respondents said they’re confident or extremely confident in their ability to connect clients with green lenders; only 6 percent said they’re not at all confident.

When asked what they consider the top market issues regarding sustainability, agents and brokers named understanding lending options for energy upgrades or solar panels (38 percent), the lack of information and materials provided to real estate professionals (32 percent) and improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock (31 percent).

Respondents were also asked about sustainability in commercial real estate: 70 percent indicated that promoting energy efficiency in commercial listings was very or somewhat valuable. Sixteen percent said that their Commercial Information Exchange had green data fields and that those fields promote energy information and green features.

The top building features clients specified as very or somewhat important to their agents or brokers were utility/operation costs (81 percent), efficient use of lighting (67 percent) and indoor air quality (64 percent).

© 2019 Florida Realtors®