Worth Reading: Greening the MLS

Rebekah Nowak

With funding provided by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), and in conjunction with The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), Greening the MLS: Bringing High-Performance Homes to Light in the District of Columbia was released earlier this year. This analysis looked at real estate transactions during 2013 in order to establish a baseline of market activity surrounding Eco-Friendly homes within the District of Columbia.

To determine the District’s inclination towards high-performance homes (HPH), the study reviewed the supply and demand of HPHs in the city, and the adoption of green fields in property listings. In terms of demand, the District’s “hotspots” for higher density HPH listings are: Cathedral Heights, Georgetown, Howard, Brookland, Brentwood, and Capitol Hill. Overall demand was surveyed, comparing if green houses were more desirable when purchasing. In terms of adoption, the study investigated if HPH homes were properly represented in the multiple listing services (MLS). For example, if a home included a green feature, was it properly included in a listing and did it make a difference in the sales price?

Consumers are increasingly seeking eco-friendly features when making real estate transactions. Research indicates that high performance houses may sell for a higher price when compared to their non-high performance counterparts. In addition to analyzing the high-performance home inventory in the District, the report compared the sales prices of HPHs and non-HPHs. While HPHs comprise a relatively small percentage of total home sales, they consistently sell for a higher price. Despite accounting for only 18% of total residential sales in 2013, the median sale price for HPHs was 23 percent higher than that of non-HPHs.

It is estimated that real estate agents use only 3-5% of green fields across all the MLSs nationwide. Greening the MLS suggests that knowledge of this baseline, paired with the sales numbers referenced above, present a clear opportunity to improve the use of green fields in real estate listings. Realtors should, for example, be able to capitalize on the growing home-buyer demand for HPHs, by including such fields in listings for homes located in hot spot neighborhoods.

The data presented in this report is encouraging, and provides a foundation for District efforts to promote high-performance homes.

Read the full report: Greening the MLS: Bringing High-Performance Homes to Light

Rebekah Nowak
Content Development Associate at USGBC supporting the enhancement of the Green Building Information Gateway. BA in International Relations from Syracuse University with a concentration in International Security and Diplomacy as well as Asian Studies.