Does It Matter?
NAR did a poll of buyers to test the importance of energy effiency to home buyers. Geographically, colder areas scored higher degrees of interest placed on energy effiency and buyers 55 and older had a greater preference for energy efficicent applicances than younger buyers.
By Income 29% of buyers with incomes over $100,000 per year thought heating and cooling costs were significant to their home buying decision, compared with 47% of buyers with incomes less than $45,000 per year. Going green is an early and growing interest for home buyers and a can be a sweetener to pique interest. Its not a deal breaker, but given two like properties, the one with money saving devices and the opportunity to be a good eco citizen can be the tipping point.
Tenants are also interested in green, because of the health benefits and monthly savings. Inexpensive energy efficient upgrades offer improvements in operating costs and savings to the tenant, all for very little outlay. Given the choice of being a good eco citizen and lower bills, tenants are opting for rentals that have green upgrades.
Unfortunately, the new Federal tax bill passed on Dec 17 puts a lid on this growing interest just when we need it the most. Heres how it hurts:
$858 Billion Federal Tax Bill
bad news for homeowners
Tax credits for energy-efficient remodeling are cut and will severly hurt jobs in that industry, the envioronment and an important but not yet pivotal sales point for buyers and sellers of homes.
1. Cut: From 30% of an improvements cost ($1,500 max per taxpayer) to a 10% credit, with a $500 maximum for expenditures on insulation materials, exterior windows and storm doors, skylights and metal and asphalt roofs that resist heat gain.
2. Cut: Limits on improvements once eligible for 30% credits. These include a $150 tax credit limit on the costs of energy efficient natural gas, propane and oil furnaces, and hot water boilers.
A $300 credit limit on the costs of central air-conditioning systems, electric heat pump water heaters, biomass stoves for heating or water heating, electric heat pumps, and natural gas and propane water heaters.
3. Cut: Limits allowable tax credits available for energy-efficient windows installed during 2011 to a total of $200, compared with the previous $1,500
Green is clearly a hot button issue and will become even more so, as we begin to deal with global warming. But this bill moves in the opposite direction, it hurts the environment, jobs, research and manufacturing and perhaps home sales. It sends a bad message in every way.
Green Home Trends: 2010
NARPM Green Landlording Survey
Green Kitchens: How to Do It; Why It Matters