Yesterday the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing home sales increased 0.8% in February to 4.98 million, the highest level in three years, and median home sales prices rose 11.6% from a year ago.
Under the headline “Sudden Rise in Home Demand Takes Builders by Surprise,” The New York Times reported that “builders are scrambling to ramp up production but face delays because of difficulty finding construction workers and in obtaining permits from suddenly overwhelmed local authorities.”
“Buyers very much want to buy,” says Chapel Hill, N.C., green architect and builder Michael Chandler. “Getting things financed is still a pain. “Appraisals are coming in low, sometimes $50,000 less than the price of construction. That means buyers have to put down larger down payments.”
Buyers value the health benefits and comfort of green homes, but by necessity their home-buying choices come down to dollars and cents.
To sell buyers on the value of energy-efficient homes, show exact figures on how much less they will pay on monthly utility bills and, therefore, how much more they can afford to pay for the house. For example, if the monthly utility bill is $50 less than a comparable home, with a 3.5% mortgage, they can afford to pay $11,250 more for their home.
In many cases, the difference in the utility bills will be even more dramatic, but home shoppers must be shown the real numbers to understand how much flexibility a green-built home can give them.