When it comes to eco-friendly housing, location is everything

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Where does it cost to go green?

Though it’s often assumed that eco-friendly housing comes with an inherently higher price tag, according to a new study, that may not be true. In fact, in some areas, green homes may even be more affordable than not-so-eco-friendly ones – and by a significant amount.

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Prices vary when going green recently conducted a study of housing listings with green or eco-friendly features, including solar panels, smart thermostats and more. The results ran the gamut, but it turns out that going green isn’t as expensive as many homebuyers think. According to Javier Vivas,’s director of economic research, it really comes down to location.

“Although Southern and Western states still lead the way in green technology adoption, eco-friendly features have grown in popularity across many regions of the United States,” Vivas said. “Many buyers have come to expect standard features, and homes integrating specialty green features are becoming more mainstream. However, in today’s inventory-starved market, location still reigns supreme and the price of land can easily override the allure of special eco-friendly features.”

Improve your property with an energy efficient mortgage

Eco-friendly housing listings in Salinas, California, came in with the lowest price tag – about 14 percent under the area’s median home price, while green homes in Tulsa, Oklahoma clocked the highest costs. Tulsa buyers will pay about 19 percent more for a home with eco-friendly features.

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The greenest metros

As far as the prevalence of eco-friendly housing goes, Fort Collins, Colorado, has the most homes with green features. According to the study, about 36 percent of listings this month have one or more “sustainable living” feature. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro in Texas and the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro in California tied for second, with 35 percent of listings having a green feature.

Broken down by a specific feature, solar panels were most popular in San Jose, Salinas and Phoenix, at 6.1 percent, 4.8 percent and 4.6 percent of listings, respectively. Smart thermostats were most common in listings in San Antonio and Fort Collins.

ENERGY STAR-rated homes were seen most often in listings in Connecticut – particularly the Norwich-New London metro, Hartford and New Haven-Milford. Homebuyers typically pay 21 to 26 percent more for an ENERGY STAR-rated property.

Buying a home: utility costs matter – a lot!

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Want to take advantage of the growing number of eco-friendly housing listings? Shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Feb 26th, 2020)