RISMEDIA, July 14, 2010—Availability of loans, interest rates, tax credits, home affordability, and general economic conditions all influence housing trends. However, the primary factor affecting growth of green homes in any given area depends on where local government, designers, builders, and consumers are in their green education, adoption, and implementation. These groups all influence each other with some being more advanced in their green education than others.
Additionally, a secondary factor influencing the depth of an areas green home stock is timing. The green wave was rapidly growing prior to the economic collapse and has since slowed along with general new construction. While green education may have arrived in some areas, implementing a green strategy may be on hold because of local economic conditions. It takes organizations such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and other similar organizations to help educate these groups on the benefits of green homes.
It is important to note that of the home building projects moving forward, a growing percentage of them are receiving a green certification such as Energy Star, LEED for Homes, or NAHB’s Nation Green Building Certification.
Once home construction rebounds you will find a significant increase in certified green homes or those with green features. This increase will come as more local governments incentivize green homes or, in some cases, mandate them. For example, the California Building Standards Commission unanimously adopted the first mandatory Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), requiring that all new buildings in the state be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. The new code will take effect January 1, 2011 and includes all new residential structures. Real estate agents in California need to understand how CALGreen will affect their market. While real estate agents in other states should at least know what state level incentives are available for green development and improvements (www.dsireusa.org is a great website to find this information).
In terms of the existing home market, there is proposed federal legislation called HOME STAR, also known as ‘Cash for Caulkers’ that will incentivize homeowners to make their homes more efficient and durable. This 6 billion dollar program would stimulate construction jobs and provide direct rebates to homeowners who invest in qualifying home energy improvements. Rebate amounts can be deducted from overall job costs and paid directly to the contractor or product retailer after the retrofit work has been completed (for more information visit www.efficiencyfirst.org). If this legislation passes, homeowners are certain to take advantage and when they go to sell they’ll want to work with someone who knows how to market their home’s green features.
Even if you do not have an abundance of green homes in your community now, you may see an increase soon as green building awareness rises and as more builders make sustainable features and green certifications standard. As an agent you should understand that green building is the future of real estate and that now is an opportune time to position yourself as a green resource in your community. This will inevitably translate to more business for you. The best way to prepare for this major industry change is by earning NAR’s Green Designation.
Established by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS®, the Green REsource Council was founded to make the knowledge of green real estate practices available to everyone. The Green REsource Council awards NAR’s Green Designation to REALTORS® who are looking to prepare themselves for the future of real estate and raise awareness of the environmental impact of commercial and residential properties. To learn more visit GreenREsourceCouncil.org.