Majority of Realtors Say Clients Interested in Sustainability

Real Estate In-Depth | April 18, 2017

WASHINGTON—Growing consumer interest and demand for greener, more sustainable properties is driving a dialogue between Realtors and homebuyers and sellers. Over half of Realtors find that consumers have interest in real estate sustainability issues and practices, according to the National Association of Realtors’ recently released “Realtors and Sustainability” report.

The report, stemming from NAR’s new Sustainability Program, surveyed Realtors about sustainability issues facing consumers in the real estate market and ways Realtors are setting their own goals to reduce energy usage.

To meet growing consumer interest, more Multiple Listing Services are incorporating data entry fields to identify a property’s green features; 43% of respondents report their MLS has green data fields, and only 19% do not. Realtors see great value in promoting energy efficiency in listings with seven out of 10 feeling strongly about the benefits in promoting those features to clients.

The survey asked respondents about renewable energy and its impact on the real estate market. A majority of agents and brokers (80%) said that solar panels are available in their market; 42% said solar panels increased the perceived property value.

Twenty-four percent of brokers said that tiny homes were available in their market, compared to 61% that reported tiny homes were not yet available. When asked about involvement with clients and green properties, 27% of agents and brokers were involved with one to five properties that had green features in the last 12 months. Seventy percent of members worked with no properties that had green features, leaving a great deal of room for future growth.

The home features that Realtors said clients consider as very or somewhat important include a home’s efficient use of lighting (50%), a smart/connected home (40%), green community features, such as bike lanes and green spaces (37%), landscaping for water conservation (32%), and renewable energy systems such as solar and geothermal (23%).

When it comes to the sustainable neighborhood features for which clients are looking, 60% of Realtors listed parks and outdoor recreation, 37% listed access to local food and nine percent listed recycling.

The transportation and commuting features of a community that Realtors listed as very or somewhat important to their clients included walkability (51%), public transportation (31%) and bike lanes/paths (39%).