Do Sustainable Features Affect the Sale Price of a House?

There has been much debate over the years as to whether going green gets you green – do sustainable features improve the selling price of a house?

Some studies have demonstrated that consumers are less willing to pay a higher price for green-rated homes when times are hard economically. A definitive study was recently conducted in California from 2007 to early 2012, covering the unusually-large number of 1.6 million houses. The Los Angeles Times and Washington Post both ran articles about it. It found that green certification improves the selling price of a house by an average of nine percent. It also discovered “the Prius effect” – if an area housed consumers who supported environmental conservation, it was evident from increased ownership of hybrid cars, and in such areas people were more willing to fork out a premium for green-certified houses. Where there were less Priuses, people were less willing to spend more.

This research was carried out by Nils Kok of the Netherlands’ Maastricht University and Matthew E. Kahn of UCLA. Kok is presently a visiting scholar to the University of California. The effects of locational factors such as amenities like views and pools, the data of the sale, crime rates and school districts were eliminated.

Green homes could negatively affect the environment because, being further from the centres of cities, they require a longer commute to work. Despite this, Kok and Kahn are firmly of the belief that the green characteristics of homes – which produce considerable reductions in energy bills – should be highlighted.

The nine percent premium for green homes is similar to results obtained in Europe, where houses that are energy-efficient are more common. One study found that homes with an “A” rating under the system of the European Union fetched 10 percent more, while houses that were rated poorly sold for substantially less.

Houses are more green if they have insulation, an efficient heating system, an energy recovery system, appliances that use less energy, lower-energy lightbulbs, low-flow plumbing and double glazing. This latter also improves the appearance of a house. Hardwood floors are more durable and easier to clean than carpet or vinyl, although they absorb less noise. The flashing and caulks of sidings and roofs should be effective. Gutters should guide water away from the house, and could terminate in barrels so the water can be used on the garden or to clean a car.

This article has been written for Your Future Home by Timothy Chilman who writes internet content on behalf of www.homesales.com.au

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  1. #1 by Arthur Hill on January 27, 2013 - 7:17 pm

    Great article! We need more people to endorse this way of thinking. I respect the fact that many may find it difficult to fork out the initial capital, however, the eventual savings will no doubt pay off in the long run. And the effects on our environment will show as more people join the movement.

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