Green Home Hunt: Practical Tips for Finding Green Homes on the Market
By Mike Figura
If you want your next home to be certified by Green Built Homes or ENERGY STAR®, you can either buy an existing home or build a custom one.
When you build a custom home, you dictate where and what you build, but if you buy an existing home, your options are limited to what is available on the market. If you look for green certified homes for sale, you’ll discover that the ease of finding one depends on where you are looking and what you are looking for.
The marketplace of green homes has grown over the last 15 years, as more green homes are built and certified each year.
In 2006, the market was tiny. There were only 16 green certified homes that sold in the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area (Asheville MSA). The Asheville MSA comprises Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties. With only 16 sales, green certified home sales were only 0.2 percent of the total home sale market in 2006.
Compare that to 2020 when there were 138 green certified homes sold, representing a whopping 763 percent increase over the 15-year period. Green certified homes still comprised a small percentage of the overall market at 1.8 percent of total homes sold, but it is a substantial increase nonetheless.
Green home sales are not evenly distributed though. Out of the 138 green homes that sold in the Asheville MSA in 2020, 91 percent of those sales were in Buncombe County and 65 percent were in Asheville. Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties combined only comprised 9 percent of the green certified home sale market in 2020.
And it gets even more concentrated at a neighborhood level, where 36 percent of the green homes that sold in the Asheville MSA in 2020 were in West Asheville. To put that in perspective, West Asheville had only 8 percent of total home sales in the Asheville MSA but it had more than a third of the green home sales.
By price range, green home sales are a bit more spread out. As you would imagine with the relatively high cost of homes in the Asheville MSA market, there were not many green homes that sold for less than $250,000. Only 6.5 percent of green home sales occurred in a price range lower than $250,000 in 2020. However, 42 percent of green home sales occurred between $250,000 and $500,000 and likewise, 42 percent of green home sales occurred between $500,000 and $750,000. Somewhat surprisingly, only 9.5 percent of green home sales occurred in a price range higher than $750,000.
If you want to buy an existing home and you want it to be a green home but it doesn’t seem likely that you’ll find one based on your area or price range, don’t despair.
First, start by looking deeper. Not all homes with sustainable features are green certified. Many people who build custom homes are incorporating green-building features while not getting them certified, and many homeowners who own conventional homes are retrofitting to add green features such as solar.
You can also buy an existing home and make improvements that increase efficiency, improve indoor air quality or add energy production through solar, wind or micro-hydro.
And if you are building a custom green home, make sure to follow through with the certifications, which add value and make it easier for buyers who are looking for green homes to find yours when you are ready to sell.
Mike Figura is the owner and broker of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty. He has been a Realtor since 2005, founded the Eco Agents committee in 2006 and is a past board member of Green Built Alliance. Connect with Mike at mymosaicrealty.com.
You can also view this article as it was originally published on page 56 of the 2021-22 edition of the directory.