A new survey of agents and brokers from the National Association of Realtors paints a mixed picture of preferences for green features in properties..
Most agents and brokers (69%) said that energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable. However, only 21% of respondents said they had been directly involved with a green property, either on the buyer or seller side, in the past 12 months. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they had not been directly involved with a green property in the past 12 months.
When a building had green certifications, such as LEED, Green Globes or the Living Building Challenge, 29% of respondents said they spent neither more nor less time on the market. Only 7% percent of respondents said buildings with green certifications spent a little less or much less time on the market.
Sustainability didn’t necessarily affect valuations either. When green features were part of the mix, 37% of respondents said buildings with green certifications, such as LEED, Green Globes, or the Living Building Challenge, had increased commercial property values. However, only slightly fewer respondents (32%) said buildings with green certifications did not affect the commercial property value.
Only 9% of respondents said clients asked for advice about obtaining a green building or sustainability certification. However, 39% of respondents had clients ask for advice on improving their building or space energy efficiency.
While 32% of clients were “somewhat” interested in sustainability, only 5% were “very” interested. Eight percent were “very uninterested.”
Only 18% of respondents had requests from prospective tenants asking for a building’s sustainability certifications, green building features, or energy rating. When documents were requested about these features, 75% were energy efficiency information, 53% asked for green certification information, and 42% requested recycling program information.
Respondents said that clients were most interested in utility and operations costs (31%), indoor air quality (26%), efficient use of lighting (14%), and windows, doors and furnishings (12%), according to the NAR survey.
While brokers may be seeing mixed sentiment regarding sustainability, investors are becoming more interested in it.
Around 78% of investors surveyed in JLL’s Decarbonizing the Built Environment research identified climate risk as a financial risk, and the firm says real estate investors and developers are increasingly considering climate risk factors when deciding where to buy or build, citing Urban Land Institute data.
“I think we will look back at 2020 as the tipping point, catapulting climate risk into mainstream consciousness, with the persistent rise of extreme weather events like the record-breaking heat waves sweeping across the northwest of the US and Canada or snowstorms in Texas, making it harder to deny,” says Lori Mabardi, ESG research director at JLL. “The desire to understand climate risks and perils and how they can impact a portfolio or asset is rising every day.”
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