On Going Green, and Meaning It

Our most recent data pull was for Chicago Agent Magazine’s recent issue on everything green real estate. The cover story includes a good overview on the opinions and sentiments concerning the state of Chicagoland buyers and sellers and living sustainability. The write up seems to put forth that while there are a dedicated few agents who stress the cost-cutting benefits  of a green home, moreover buyers are not in the market for those same environment friendly features. The “trend” that has picked up so steadily in the food production or automotive industries seems to have little traction in the housing sector. This is reflected in the marketing choices made by agents, as our data purports.

Out of the entire MRED MLS system, we found only 2.15% of listings included descriptions of “green” attached to them. This is certainly a discouraging figure for those who want to believe that the green trend is really taking hold across the country. While a bit of this might be attributed to agents not being concerned with sustainability, more likely the case is that most buyers are still not weighing green factors high on their list of priorities, much like the CAMag cover story iterates. A full list of the search terms we gathered info on is below.

Despite these numbers, we would be remiss to claim that agents are insensitive to eco-friendly concerns. If they are reacting instead to their interpretation of market interest and need, then the finger gets pointed on buyers. In our opinion, the housing market and home construction is a much less apparent or obvious area for green enhancement. While most are aware of energy efficient light bulbs or Energy-star rated appliances, they are often considered mere additions or features to a home rather than actual inherent values of a property. A car is a machine, a vehicle that is understood to produce emissions and burn gas in a fashion that is painfully visible on gas station signs and in bank accounts across the country. It is a more intrinsic attribute to a car- and therefore a point of concern in purchasing. Homes on the other hand aren’t seen in this same light. We would suspect that as green considerations and innovations hit a critical need in the market (and planet, truthfully), the housing sector will fall in line. As home construction and materials start to become more of a critical factor in our lives, only then will it be placed in the echelon of importance next to things like location. Hopefully at that time, agents will fully realize this trend and understand the advantage that marketing and discussing these factors will have on their business, as well as the overall environment.

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