'Green' Saved Some Homebuilders From Recession

February 5, 2014

Homebuilders are finding that betting on green features could be the key to rescuing an ailing business. A new study finds that builders with energy-efficient and green home construction experience remained in business during the Great Recession at higher rates than those who did not have any knowledge or experience with green housing.

In 2013, green homes comprised 23 percent of overall residential construction. It is expected to rise to one-third of the market by 2016, according to the newly released Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study by McGraw Hill Construction.

More communities have adopted green principles into building codes, ordinances, and regulations, which is helping to spur their adoption. Also, more products are becoming affordable, which helps more home owners incorporate them.

About half of builders and remodelers in 2013 said it’s easier to market green homes, up from 40 percent in 2008. What’s more, 68 percent of builders say their customers will pay more for green. Twenty-three percent say their customers are willing to pay more than a 5 percent premium for a home with green features.

"Green experience was a significant part of what kept builders in business during the recession, and now those same firms are embracing the competitive advantage they earned by deepening their delivery of energy-efficient and green homes," says Harvey M. Bernstein, VP of Industry Insights and Alliances, McGraw Hill Construction. " We also see firms reentering the market that are using traditional home building practices versus green practices because that's what they know. However, the broader availability of green building products and practices, a more educated consumer and an increase in activity at the regulatory level will also encourage this group of builders to learn green practices over time."

Source: “Builders With ‘Green Experience’ Fared Better During Recession,” Mortgage News Daily (Feb. 4, 2014)

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