- Real estate website Redfin has analyzed its 2015 sales data to come up with the 10 U.S. neighborhoods that have the highest percentage of homes with green, eco-friendly features. The site found that Villanova, in the Main Line area of Philadelphia, tops the list.
- California occupies five out of the 10 slots, with two showings from Massachusetts and one-offs from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Washington.
- Redfin also determined that homes with green features had a selling price $33,894 higher than the median sales prices in all the cities Redfin included in its analysis.
According to Redfin, homeowners are going green in response to environmental conditions — like the California drought — or are taking advantage of eco-friendly elements in the course of other upgrades. Homeowners also see green features as a contributor to future resale value and energy-bill savings. Those renovating or building a home are also aiming for a healthier living environment by using more nontoxic building materials and finishes.
Homebuyers in all demographics are increasingly demanding homes with green features, and Hanley Wood recently reported that baby boomers are no exception. The company found that 55-plus homebuyers valued sustainability, energy efficiency, wireless security, adaptive lighting and smartphone-controlled home features.
Taking green living literally has emerged with the rising popularity of "agrihoods," which are residential communities built around farms. Instead of demolishing farms to make way for development, homes are added so that residents can experience growing their own food, raising animals and living as part of a community. Green features often come standard with these homes, which tend to be more expensive because of the low-density nature of the developments. Texas billionaire and former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot Jr. built one of the nation's first residential farming developments near Dallas, and other major homebuilders like D.R. Horton and PulteGroup’s Del Webb division are experimenting with the concept and have reported success so far.
While most people appreciate the value of green features, particularly ENERGY STAR appliances and windows, a National Association of Home Builders survey found that homeowners are cost-minded when it comes to upgrading their homes to these standards, and at least half demand a 20% return on their energy efficiency investments.
Redfin's full Top 10 list includes:
- Villanova (Philadelphia) — 57% green homes
- Villages of Irvine (Irvine, CA) — 56%
- Downtown (Santa Monica, CA) — 51%
- Newton Centre (Newton, MA) — 49%
- Tremont (Cleveland, OH) — 49%
- Terramor Village/Ladera Ranch (Orange County, CA) — 48%
- Belltown (Seattle) — 45%
- Kerrigan Ranch (Yorba Linda, CA) — 45%
- Downtown (Dedham, MA) — 41%
- Del Sur (San Diego) — 39%