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It's Not Cheap Being Green, but Eco-Friendly Homes Do Not Always Cost More

April 20 2018

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 19, 2018 -- Homes with eco-friendly features do not always command a premium price tag in today's hot housing market, according to analysis from®, a leading online real estate destination.

In honor of Earth Day,® analyzed current listings in the top 200 U.S. metros to determine the market availability of "green" homes with any of seven eco-friendly features, such as solar panels, smart thermostats or bamboo floors, and evaluated how much more – or less – these homes may cost a prospective homebuyer.

"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," said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for®. "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."

The "greenest" metro of them all

Prospective homebuyers in the Fort Collins, Colo. metro area have the highest likelihood of finding a home with integrated "green" features, with 36 percent of its April 2018 listings noting at least one sustainable living feature. Following closely behind are the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas and San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif., metro areas at 35 percent of listings each.

Although homes with eco-friendly features are four percent more expensive than the median home price in the Dallas metro area, there is essentially no price difference between "green" homes and the median home price in Fort Collins. Notably, homebuyers looking in Sunnyvale/San Jose/Santa Clara may find homes with sustainable living features for five percent less than the local median home price.

Of the top 10 "green" metros, buyers in Tulsa, Okla., will pay the biggest premium – 19 percent – if buying a home with existing eco-friendly features is a priority. Those in Salinas, Calif., have the biggest price advantage, as "green" listings are 14 percent below the median home price. However, while three California metros show that "green" homes are less expensive relative to the median home price in their respective areas, keep in mind that the median home price in each metro is significantly higher than those in other states.

Solar panels soak up the sun in California and Arizona

California dominated seven of the top ten markets with the highest concentration of listings featuring solar panels, with the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., area leading the list at 6.1 percent of total listed homes. Salinas, Calif., and Arizona's Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro areas follow closely behind at 4.8 percent and 4.6 percent of total listings featuring solar panels, respectively.

Good news for buyers who want integrated solar panels in their new home: every market aside from Prescott, Ariz., and Fresno, Calif., showed that prices of solar panel homes were the same or less than the median home price in each market. In Salinas, Calif., buyers save on average $233,850 on homes featuring solar panels when compared to the metro's median listing price of $917,050. However, in Prescott, Ariz., new homeowners will need to add $78,200 to the metro's median home price of $400,050.

Programmable thermostats heat up home prices in Oklahoma, Alabama and Texas

Homes featuring programmable thermostats will likely cost homebuyers more, adding up to 20 percent in Montgomery, Ala., 17 percent in Tulsa, Okla., 15 percent in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas metro area, and 12 percent in the Oklahoma City metro area.

The Tulsa metro area has the highest proportion of smart thermostat home listings at 31 percent, followed by San Antonio at 28 percent and Fort Collins, Colo. at 25 percent.

Some of the price differences may be attributed to the fact that median home prices in these four metros are all below the national median price of $280,000, ranging from $176,944 for Montgomery, Ala., to $239,650 for Oklahoma City.

ENERGY STAR-rated homes shine bright (and costly) in Connecticut

Four Connecticut metros have the highest concentration of ENERGY STAR-rated* home listings currently on the market, but most homebuyers will need to pay between 21 to 26 percent more than the median home price per square foot.

ENERGY STAR-rated homes make up four percent of current listings in each of Connecticut's Norwich-New London, Hartford, and New Haven-Milford metro areas, adding 26 percent, 21 percent and 24 percent more to the price per square foot, respectively. ENERGY STAR-rated homes in the Greensboro-High Point, N.C., metro, the fifth highest concentration market at 1 percent of total listings, will cost buyers 41 percent more per square foot.

Of the top five metros, the only one that does not require a premium is the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area, where ENERGY STAR-rated homes account for slightly over 3 percent of active listings. While the median home price is the most expensive of the top five metros at $792,050, buyers can save $37,050 on average for a ENERGY STAR-rated home.

Top Markets with Green Amenities

Ranking of the top 200 largest U.S. metros with the highest percentage of active listings featuring at least one of seven "green" amenities in April 2018

rdc Eco Friendly Homes Do Not Always Cost More 1

Top Markets: Solar

Ranking of the top 200 largest U.S. metros with the highest percentage of active listings featuring solar panels in April 2018

rdc Eco Friendly Homes Do Not Always Cost More 2

Top Markets: Programmable Thermostats

Ranking of the top 200 largest U.S. metros with the highest percentage of active listings featuring programmable thermostats in April 2018

rdc Eco Friendly Homes Do Not Always Cost More 3

Top Markets: Energy Star-Rated Homes

Ranking of the top 200 largest U.S. metros with the highest percentage of active listings featuring Energy Star-rated homes in April 2018

rdc Eco Friendly Homes Do Not Always Cost More 4

Methodology® looked at the active home listings in April 2018 to see which of the top 200 largest U.S. metro areas had the highest share of homes that included "green" features. To qualify for the list, the metro must have at least 30 listings that included the "green" feature. The eco-friendly features included for analysis are solar panels, bamboo flooring, smart thermostats, ENERGY STAR-rated homes, Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ventilation, dual pane windows and ENERGY STAR appliances.

* ENERGY STAR  is a voluntary energy efficiency program managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). New homes that earn the ENERGY STAR are at least 15 percent more efficient than those built to code. For more information:

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