Green Homes Fetch Higher Resale Prices

A study in Texas found that in the area’s growing market of sustainable homes, it pays to be green.

A new study has found that new homes in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (Austin-Round Rock MSA) built to meet green standards like LEED are worth an average of $25,000 more in resale value than conventional homes. The study, “The Value of LEED Homes in the Austin-Round Rock Real Estate Market: A Statistical Analysis of Sale Premiums for Green Certification,” comes from The University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Green Building Council.

Homes built to LEED standards between 2008 and 2016 showed an 8 percent gain in value, and homes built to a wider range of green standards increased by 6 percent in value. Beth Johnson is a Realtor in North Texas who specializes in assisting green-leaning buyers and sellers. Because of the financial benefits that come with energy-saving homes, from lower utility bills to higher resale values, she says she encourages her clients to opt for greener homes.

I always tell my new-home or recent-construction buyer clients that even if they don’t personally care about energy efficiency or quality construction, they should not even consider buying anything less than at least an Energy Star certified home,” says Johnson. “Ten years from now when they get ready to resell, it’s very likely that buyers will be telling their real estate agents, ‘Don’t even show me anything that’s not at least Energy Star certified.’”

LEED homes use an average of 20 to 30 percent less energy than a home built to code, with some homes reporting up to 60 percent savings, which lowers energy costs. Laura Britt, an architect and interior designer from Austin with a sustainability focus, says that the best way to creating an overall healthier and greener home is by incorporating all elements, from the orientation of the house to the materials used in the furniture.

“I think ideally you always take a holistic approach, where you’re working hand in glove with an architect and a designer, where everyone’s working together from the beginning,” says Britt.

Johnson says that in addition to an increase in the value of green homes, the sheer number of energy-saving homes in North Texas has grown immensely in the past decade. In late 2008, it became possible for consumers to search for Energy Star and other green homes in the area. Since then, Johnson estimates the amount of listings has grown from about 12 in 2009 to over 2,000 in 2016.

“Green building is totally alive and well in North Texas in the sense that we can now offer buyers a great variety of location, price point, size of homes, architectural styles, and a range of HERS scores to the consumer,” says Johnson. “It’s a maturing green market, and it’s right on that cusp of being a fully mature green market.”