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Green Building Curmudgeon

The Verdict Is In: Green Homes Sell Faster

A recent survey in the metro Atlanta area shows that certified green homes sell almost twice as fast as standard homes.
Image Credit: Carson Matthews

In August 2008, FMLS, the leading real-estate listing service in the metro-Atlanta area, began including green certifications in its database. Sellers can now add to their listing EarthCraft House, LEED for Homes, and Energy Star certifications, as well as the HERS index, and features such as solar power, Energy Star appliances, and spray-foam insulation. The new National Green Building Standard was not available at the time these details were added to the listing service, but it likely will be added during their next revision.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

Carson Matthews, a local EcoBroker, has compiled sales statistics from September 2008 through mid-April 2009 showing that homes that included green certifications in their listings sold faster and closer to the listing price than standard homes. Certified green homes, on average, sold almost 50% faster and 4.5% closer to the listing price.

Interestingly, the average sale price of these homes is about 25% less than the standard homes. This could be due to the fact that owner and builders of green-certified homes are more conscious of the size implications, and these homes are most likely smaller than their counterparts. It could also be a coincidence and totally random, but I don’t think that is likely.

A good start

This data sample is small, and future data may provide different results, but it does appear to indicate that the tide is turning, and we should expect to see more demand for sustainable homes. If the media is a good indicator, and I believe that it is, consumer interest in green homes has significantly increased in the last few years, and that interest certainly includes new-home purchases. Just a few years ago, media coverage of green building was rare. Now, hardly a day goes by when green building is not mentioned multiple times in print and on the Web.

So far, there are only a few real-estate listing services that include green-home certifications and features, but that is bound to change. Hopefully, this information will stimulate other regions to add these listing details and help promote green homes in all markets.


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