Roughly seven in ten buyers felt that energy efficient appliances and energy efficient lighting were at least somewhat important to their home buying decision.
Palm Coast, FL – January 12, 2011 – Energy efficiency is an important feature for home buyers. Nationaql Association of Realtors®’ 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers includes some interesting data about buyers’ preferences for energy efficient features in a home. Study findings show that:
- Almost nine in ten buyers felt that a home’s heating and cooling costs were at least somewhat important to their buying decision.
- Roughly seven in ten buyers felt that energy efficient appliances and energy efficient lighting were at least somewhat important to their home buying decision.
- Half of all buyers felt that landscaping for energy conservation and environmentally friendly community features had some importance to their decision.
Figure 1: Source 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
Although only certain information is used in the profile itself, we are able to use the database to take an in depth look at selected topics. The following charts show the importance of energy efficiency across regions and buyers’ income and age.
Importance of Energy Efficiency by Region
Buyers in the Northeast and South tended to place the highest premium on heating and cooling costs with 42 percent and 43 percent of buyers, respectively, saying that these costs were a very important feature. According to the Department of Energy’s 2005 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, homes in the Northeast typically have the highest yearly energy bills: averaging $2,319, compared to less than $1,800 for each of the other three regions. In the South 23 percent of energy expenditures go to air-conditioning, compared with 14 percent in the West (the next highest region) according to the 2005 Residential Energy Consumption Survey—see this presentation for more information. Also, the South and West show a stronger preference for energy efficient appliances and lighting, where the housing stock tends to be newer. Also, the West showed a higher preference towards landscaping for energy conservation, with 17 percent responding that this was a very important feature.
Figure 2: Region of Homes. Percentage of buyers who said the feature was very important to their decision
Importance of Energy Efficiency by Age
Interestingly, older buyers (55 and above) tended to have stronger preferences towards energy efficient features than younger buyers (18 to 34). Some of this may be explained by the fact that younger buyers are more often first-time home buyers. Therefore older buyers may be more aware of energy-efficient appliances and lighting that can reduce monthly energy bills. Twenty-nine percent of older buyers felt that energy-efficient lighting and appliances were very important features, whereas just over 20 percent of younger buyers felt that those features were important. Also, about twice as many older buyers felt landscaping for energy conservation was very important compared with buyers 18 to 34 years old.
Figure 3: Age of Home Buyers. Percentage of buyers who said the feature was very important to their decision
Importance of Energy Efficiency by Income
Buyers with higher incomes tended to place less importance on environmentally-friendly features. Twenty-nine percent of buyers with incomes over $100,000 per year thought heating and cooling costs were significant to their home buying decision, compared with 47 percent of buyers with incomes less than $45,000 per year. There is a similar trend for energy efficient appliances and lighting features. The importance of each feature increases incrementally from higher to lower income groups. One reason may be that energy efficiency translates into cost savings, which is more important for lower-income home owners. That also indicates that the desire to be environmentally friendly is less important than the cost savings from energy efficiency.
©Copyright National Association of Realtors – reprinted with permission