Tackling the Environment and Real Estate

August 1, 2014

Environmental issues intersect with real estate in a variety of ways: from catastrophic weather events to longer and more intense droughts to the possibility of a rise in sea level.

REALTOR® leaders from throughout the U.S. participated in the National Association of REALTORS®’ first environmental summit in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the future and identify resources to deal with changing climate patterns –whether they’re man-made or the result of a natural climate cycle.

“As scientists speculate that extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy, the decade-long drought in the Southwest, and natural disasters like the mega-wildfires in Arizona, are going to occur with greater frequency, it is even more important that we begin to think about what this means for existing homes and businesses as well as new construction,” says NAR President Steve Brown.

Former U.S. Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge, who keynoted along with former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, pointed out that rising sea levels could post a major challenge for the coasts where one-third of Americans live.

Home buyers are already showing sensitivity to the larger environment, with NAR research showing a considerable and growing market for walkable communities, energy-efficient homes, and green buildings.

Discussion topics at the summit focused on resource management, public perceptions of environmental risks and threats, smart growth, and environmental regulations and protections.

Participating REALTORS® are now tasked with identifying where the interests of real estate lie and to put the association on the right footing for protecting home owners, buyers, sellers, and the industry as lawmakers and policymakers take on environmental issues in the years ahead.

“This summit is just the beginning of the conversations that REALTORS® will continue to have about the environment and its impact on our industry,” Brown says.

Source: "NAR Looks at Future Real Estate Risks at Environmental Summit," Speaking of Real Estate, REALTOR® Magazine and NAR