Nearly two-thirds (63%) of agents and brokers report that promoting energy efficiency in listings is very or somewhat valuable, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2023 Realtors and Sustainability Report – Residential, released Wednesday.
The report is based on data collected by NAR through a random sample of 47,441 active Realtors via an online survey in March 2023. The trade organization received a total of 2,062 responses.
In addition to finding value in highlighting a home’s energy efficient features, 48% of agents and brokers said that consumers were interested in sustainability.
But despite this interest in sustainability from consumers, just 17% of respondents said that a “significant portion” of their clients, which is defined at “between one-quarter to more than three-quarters,” consider environmental risks during the purchase process — and 14% of agents and brokers reported that clients ask for advice about energy efficiency upgrades very often or often.
“While each area of the country has a unique climate and community resources, Realtors are finding the need to embrace their clients’ sustainability interests,” Jessica Lautz, NAR’s deputy chief economist and vice president of research, said in a statement. “Buyers often seek homes that either lessen their environmental footprint or reduce their monthly energy costs. There is value in promoting green features and energy information to future home buyers.”
As a reflection of this interest from consumers, 50% of agents surveyed said they were directly involved with a property that had green features in the past 12 months. Additionally, 32% of agents reported that they were concerned about the effects of climate change events on the real estate market.
Despite the concern and interest, only one-third (32%) of agents and brokers reported that their multiple listing service (MLS) had green data fields. Of the survey respondents who do have access to green data fields on their MLS platform, the most common uses are to promote green features (37%), to promote energy information (24%), and to promote green certification (14%).
“The first words of the Realtor Code of Ethics are simple, yet powerful, and well understood by members: ‘Under all is the land,’” Kenny Parcell, the president of NAR, said in a statement. “Good stewardship of the land – and the built environment – is critical to the real estate industry. Realtors who can speak with authority about a home’s sustainable features and convey the value, health benefits, energy savings, durability and operation costs provide a major advantage in every market.”
The report also found that 17% of respondents noted that high-performance homes — defined as a systematic, building-science approach to home improvements that can increase indoor comfort, health, operational efficiency and durability — have an increase of 1%-10% of the dollar value offered compared to similar non-high-performance homes.
According to the report, agents said that the green home features they believed were most important to clients include windows, doors and siding (39%), proximity to frequently visited places (37%), a comfortable living space (37%) and a home’s utility bills and operating costs (25%).
When it comes to sustainability issues and considerations in their market, agents and brokers highlighted understanding how solar panels impact a transaction (35%), understanding lending options for energy upgrades or solar installations (33%) and valuation of solar panels on homes (32%) as their main concerns.
Other common considerations included a lack of MLS data about home performance and/or solar installations (25%), improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock (24%), valuation of green-certified homes (19%), liability of misrepresenting a property with green features (18%), and the inability to search for green properties (12%).