WASHINGTON (April 24, 2018) — As consumer demand trends toward green and sustainable home features, Realtors® continue to work to promote environmentally responsible features and business practices. Sixty-one percent of Realtors® reported that consumers are interested in sustainability according to the National Association of Realtors®' REALTORS® and Sustainability 2018 report.
The report, www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/realtors-and-sustainability, which stems from NAR’s Sustainability Program, surveyed Realtors® about sustainability issues in the residential and commercial real estate markets and the preferences they are seeing in consumers in their communities.
“Consumers continue to make it clear that environmentally friendly features and neighborhoods are an important factor in deciding where and what home to buy,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty. “Realtors® are leaders in the conversation about real estate sustainability, energy conservation and resource efficiency, and will continue to promote environmentally conscious strategies and best practices that benefit not just our clients, but also our communities.”
Seventy-one percent of agents and brokers reported that promoting energy efficiency in listings is either somewhat or very valuable. When asked what they consider to be the top market issues and considerations regarding sustainability, agents and brokers listed understanding lending options for energy upgrades or solar panels (36 percent), improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock (34 percent) and the lack of information and materials provided to real estate professionals (30 percent).
The survey asked Realtors® how comfortable they are answering questions about home performance and efficiency; 39 percent said they are comfortable or extremely comfortable. Forty percent of respondents say they are confident or extremely confident in their ability to connect clients with green lenders.
To account for growing consumer interest, 40 percent of respondents reported that their Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, have green data fields, compared to only 15 percent that do not. Among those that do have green data fields, 37 percent of respondents use them to promote green features, 27 percent to promote energy information and 16 percent to promote green certifications.
A majority of respondents (80 percent) said that solar panels are available in their market, and 39 percent said that solar panels increased the perceived property value. Twenty-three percent of brokers indicated that tiny homes – homes that are 600 square feet or less – are available in their market.
The transportation and commuting features that Realtors® stated are very or somewhat important to their clients include easy access to highways (82 percent), short commute times and distance to work (81 percent) and walkability (51 percent).
For the first time questions about commercial real estate were included in the survey. Seventy percent of agents and brokers indicated that promoting energy efficiency in their commercial listings was very or somewhat valuable. The top building features that clients specified as very or somewhat important to their agents or brokers are utility/operation costs (80 percent), efficient use of lighting (64 percent) and indoor air quality (62 percent).
NAR initiated the Sustainability Program as a platform for dialogue on sustainability for Realtors®, brokers, allied trade associations, and consumers. The program’s efforts focus on coordination and articulation of NAR’s existing sustainability resources, while also supporting a growing area of interest for consumers, helping members to assist home buyers and sellers.
The REALTOR® Sustainability Program invited a sample of 112,220 active Realtors® to participate in an online survey pertaining to sustainability issues facing consumers and the industry, resulting in 6,834 usable responses. NAR plans to use this report to better benchmark Realtor® understanding of sustainability and create resources to help Realtors® better serve clients surrounding sustainability topics.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.