REALTORS and Sustainability

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1 REALTORS and Sustainability 2017 Report National Association of REALTORS Research Department

2 NAR Sustainability Program In order to position NAR as a leader in real estate sustainability topics with real estate agents, brokers, allied trade associations, and consumers, the REALTOR Sustainability program efforts focus on coordination and articulation of new and existing association benefits and resources. Identifying the growth of sustainability in real estate, this program conducts outreach to members, appropriate trade associations and agencies to raise awareness and engagement in NAR sustainability efforts. Additionally, it identifies resources that would benefit all members. Finally, this program introduces corporate social responsibility and triple bottom line concepts into NAR s decisionmaking practices, allowing NAR to educate and support sustainability in real estate through environmental, social, and economic contexts. Vision Statement: REALTORS thrive in a culture of sustainability that promotes viability, resiliency, adaptability, and resource efficiency. Member Mission: Provide leadership and strategies on topics of sustainability that benefit members, REALTOR associations and communities. NAR is positioned to respond to sustainability questions and informational needs of members, brokers, government agencies, and consumers. Strengthens NAR s influence on legislative and regulatory issues related to sustainability. Resources designed to identify, articulate, and grow sustainability opportunities are easily accessible throughout all levels of the organization and address the most basic to the highly complex business needs. To find out more, visit

3 Executive Summary In a move driven by the wishes of its members, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) initiated the Sustainability Program as a platform for dialogue about sustainability in real estate for agents, brokers, allied trade associations, and consumers. The program s efforts focus on coordination and articulation of NAR s existing sustainability resources, while also supporting a growing area of interest for consumers, helping members to assist home buyers and sellers. In February 2017, NAR surveyed its members pertaining to sustainability issues facing their industry. This report summaries those findings. Highlights: Forty-three percent of respondents report their MLS has green data fields. Seventy-one percent said that energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable. Fifty-six percent of respondents find clients are at least somewhat interested in sustainability. Twenty-four percent said that tiny homes were available in their market. Sixty-one percent of respondents are comfortable answering clients questions about home performance. Sixteen percent said that wind farms are available in their market. Fourteen percent said wind farms increased the perceived property value. Eighty percent said that solar panels are available in their market. Forty-two percent said solar panels increased the perceived property value. Eight percent of respondents frequently have clients who request to see properties close to public transportation. Twenty-seven percent of agents and brokers were involved with 1 to 5 properties that had green features in the last 12 months. Thirteen percent of brokerage firms have experience working with commercial building repurposing and 17 percent with residential repurposing. Eighty-six percent have taken steps to reduce waste and energy usage. Ten percent of firms set goals to reduce energy usage by a specified date. Eleven percent of brokers use an environmentally efficient car.

4 Multiple Listing Service Forty-three percent of respondents report their MLS has green data fields, compared to 19 percent that do not have green data fields. MLS Green Data Fields 45% 35% 25% 43% 38% 15% 19% 5% MLS has green data fields MLS does not have green data fields Don't know

5 Value of Energy Efficiency Promotion in Listings A majority of agents and brokers (71 percent) said that energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable. Value of Energy Efficiency Promotion 45% 35% 25% 44% 15% 27% 5% Very valuable Somewhat valuable Neutral 4% Not very valuable 1% Not at all valuable 3% Depends on the listing

6 Solar Panels A majority of agents and brokers (80 percent) said that solar panels are available in their market. Forty-two percent said solar panels increased the perceived property value, compared to 31percent that said they had no effect. Solar Panels in Market Solar panels located market No solar panels in market 13% 7% Don't know Solar Panels Perceived Effect on Property Value 45% 35% 25% 42% 31% 15% 19% 5% 9% Increase value Decrease value No effect Don't know

7 Solar Panels Forty-eight percent of agents and brokers are unclear if the time on market is longer or shorter for properties with solar panels. Thirty-two percent believe the time on market is the same. Perceived Time on Market with Solar Panels 5 45% 35% 25% 48% 15% 32% 5% 4% Much more time 11% A little more time Neither more or less time 5% A little less time 2% Much less time Unclear

8 Wind Farms Sixteen percent of respondents said that wind farms are available in their market. Fourteen percent said wind farms increased the perceived property value, compared to 38 percent that said they had no effect. Wind Farms in Market % Wind farms in market 71% No wind farms in market 13% Don't know Wind Farms Perceived Effect on Property Value 35% 25% 38% 15% 27% 22% 14% 5% Increase value Decrease value No effect Don't know

9 Tiny Homes Twenty-four percent of brokers said that tiny homes were available in their market, compared to 61 percent that reported tiny homes were not yet available. Tiny homes were defined in the survey as homes that are 600 square feet or less. Tiny Homes (600 sq. ft. or less) in Market % 24% 14% Tiny homes located market Tiny homes are not located in market Don't know

10 Green Properties Twenty-seven percent of agents and brokers were involved with 1 to 5 properties that had green features in the last 12 months. Seventy percent of members worked with no properties that had green features. Number of Properties with Green Features Respondents Were Involved With in Past 12 Months (Buyer or Seller Side) to 5 27% 6 to 10 2% 11+ 1% 5 6 7

11 Home Features The home features that clients listed as very important to their agent or broker include a comfortable living space (71 percent), proximity to frequently visited places (40 percent), windows, doors, and siding (39 percent), and a home s utility bills and operating costs (28 percent). Importance of Home Features to Clients Comfortable living space 71% 24% 4% Proximity to frequently visited places (e.g. grocery store, school, highway, etc) 47% 2% 1% Windows/Doors/Siding (e.g. age, quality) A home's utility bills/operation costs 28% 39% 51% 49% 15% 2% 5% 1% Commuting costs 18% 22% 14% 6% A home s efficient use of lighting (e.g. natural light, Energy Star fixtures, LED bulbs, smart hubs) 12% 38% 32% 14% 4% Smart/connected home 8% 32% 38% 16% 5% Green community features (e.g. bike lanes, green spaces, placemaking, etc) 8% 29% 34% 8% Landscaping for water conservation 8% 24% 36% 22% 9% Renewable energy systems (e.g. solar, geothermal, etc) 3% 42% 24% 5 10 Very important Somewhat important Neutral Not very important Not at all important

12 Neighborhood Features The neighborhood features that clients look for include a access to schools (79 percent), access to shopping (72 percent), parks and outdoor recreation (60 percent), and affordable housing (38 percent). Neighborhood Features Clients Look For % 72% 6 38% 37% 35% 9% 7% 6%

13 Transportation and Commuting Features The transportation and commuting features that clients listed as very or somewhat important include easy access to highways (82 percent), commute times and distance (81 percent), and walkability (51 percent). Importance of Transportation and Commuting Features to Clients Commute times/distance 39% 42% 12% 5% 3% Easy access to highways 34% 48% 13% 3% 2% Walkability 15% 36% 26% 16% 8% Public transportation 9% 22% 28% 25% 15% Bike lanes/paths 7% 32% 33% 17% 9% Very important Somewhat important Neutral Not very important Not at all important

14 Public Transportation Eight percent of respondents frequently have clients who request to see properties close to public transportation, 21 percent report sometimes they have clients who make the request, and 27 percent rarely have clients who make the request. Clients Request to See Properties Close to Public Transportation 45% 35% 25% 42% 15% 21% 27% 5% 8% 3% Frequently Sometimes Rarely Never Don't know

15 Building Repurposing Thirteen percent of brokerage firms have experience working with commercial building repurposing and 17 percent have experience with residential building repurposing. Repurposing occurs when markets reuse space in buildings that once served a different purpose altogether, such as factories which are converted to lofts or apartments. Commercial Building Repurposing 5 13% Brokerage has experience working with commercial building repurposing 45% 43% Brokerage does not have experience working with commercial building repurposing Don't know Residential Building Repurposing 5 17% Brokerage has experience working with residential building repurposing 41% 42% Brokerage does not have experience working with residential building repurposing Don't know

16 Perception of Consumer Interest in Sustainability Half of agents and brokers find consumers (51 percent) are somewhat interested in sustainability and nine percent are very interested. Perception of Consumer Interest in Sustainability Very uninterested, 4% Very interested, 9% Somewhat uninterested, Neither interested or uninterested, 26% Somewhat interested, 51%

17 Market Issues and Considerations Market issues and considerations that agents and brokers listed include understanding lending options for energy upgrades or solar panels (44 percent), improving energy efficiency of existing housing stock (40 percent), and lack of MLS data about home performance and/or solar panel installation (34 percent). Issues and Considerations in Market Understanding lending options for energy upgrades or solar Improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock Lack of MLS data about home performance and/or solar install Valuation of solar panels on homes Lack of information and materials provided to REALTORS Understanding how solar panels impact a transaction 34% 29% 29% 44% Valuation of green certified homes Rising coastlines or floodplains Liability of misrepresenting a property with green features Inability to search for green properties 23% 22% 19% Tiny homes (600 sq ft or less) Lack of information and materials provided to other professionals 13% 13% 5

18 Comfort with Clients Questions About Home Performance Sixty-one percent of respondents are comfortable answering clients questions about home performance, while 27 percent said they were somewhat uncomfortable. Comfort Answering Clients Questions About Home Performance Extremely comfortable, 9% Extremely uncomfortable, 6% Uncomfortable, 6% Somewhat uncomfortable, 27% Comfortable, 52%

19 Brokerage Energy Reduction Goals The majority of brokerage firms have not set goals to reduce energy by a certain date at 44 percent, compared to only 10 percent of firms that have set goals to reduce energy usage by a specified date. Nine percent are currently working setting up and implementing goals. Set Energy Reduction Goals by Brokerage 45% 35% 25% 44% 34% 15% 5% 9% 4% Brokerage has set goals to reduce energy by a certain date Brokerage has not set goals to reduce energy by a certain date Not yet, but working on it Not yet, but plan to Don't know

20 Hybrid, Electric, & Environmentally Efficient Cars Only 11 percent of brokers use an environmentally efficient car, compared to 57 percent that do not currently use an efficient car nor plan to in the future. Twentynine percent of brokers do not have an efficient car but do plan to use one in the future. Use of Efficient Cars While Conducting Business % 29% 11% 1% 2% Use an efficient car and plan to continue in the future Use an efficient car but do not plan to in the future Do not use an efficient car but plan to in the future Do not use an efficient car and do not plan to in the future Don't know

21 Working From Home Nearly all brokerage firms allow their employees to work from home at 98 percent. Only two percent to do not allow remote work. Brokerage Work From Home Policy % 2% 1% Brokerage allows employees to work from home Brokerage does not allow employees to work from home Don't know

22 Personally Took Steps to Reduce Energy Use or Waste A majority of respondents (86 percent) have taken steps to reduce waste and personal energy usage, compared to 12 percent that have not taken steps. Personal Energy and Waste Reduction % 12% 2% Have taken steps Have not taken steps Don't know

23 Regional Breakouts Number of Properties with Green Features Respondents Were Involved With in Past 12 Months Region: Northeast Midwest South West 0 63% 73% 74% 64% 1 to 5 33% 23% 23% 32% 6 to % 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% * * * Less than 1% Wind Farms in Market Region: Northeast Midwest South West Wind Farms in 16% 21% 7% 16% Market No Wind Farms in Market 7 66% 77% 72% Rooftop Solar Panels in Market Region: Northeast Midwest South West Rooftop Solar 89% 73% 73% 92% Panels in Market No Rooftop Solar Panels in Market 6% 19% 17% 6%

24 Regional Breakouts Experience with Commercial Building Repurposing Region: Northeast Midwest South West Experience with Commercial Building Repurposing 12% 14% 11% 12% No Experience with Commercial Building Repurposing 45% 48% 42% 45% Experience with Residential Building Repurposing Region: Northeast Midwest South West Experience with Residential Building Repurposing 22% 17% 17% 15% No Experience with Residential Building Repurposing 36% 44% 39% 41% Tiny Homes in Market Region: Northeast Midwest South West Tiny Homes in 24% 26% 22% 25% Market No Tiny Homes in Market % 63%

25 NAR Survey Respondents Of the real estate agents surveyed, the median age was 54 years 29 percent falling into the age bracket between 55 to 64 years, 25 percent between 45 to 54 years, 17 percent between 65 to 74 years, and 16 percent between 35 to 44 years. The primary functions of survey respondents was a sales agent at 69 percent, followed by a broker-owner at 10 percent. The regional distribution of survey respondents was fairly even between the West (31 percent), South (31 percent), and Midwest (25 percent), and lower in the Northeast (13 percent). Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents worked 40 to 59 hours per week, followed by 37 percent who worked 20 to 39 hours. Nearly six in 10 (57 percent) of survey respondents worked suburban areas, followed by 36 percent in urban and central city areas, and 26 percent in rural areas.

26 Methodology In February 2017, NAR invited a random sample of 54,878 active REALTORS to fill out an online survey. A total of 2,867 useable responses were received for an overall response rate of 5.2 percent. At the 95 percent confidence level the margin of error is plus-or-minus 1.83 percent. The primary measure of central tendency used throughout this report is the median the middle point in the distribution of responses to a particular question or, equivalently, the point at which half of the responses are above and below a particular value National Association of REALTORS All Rights Reserved. May not be reprinted in whole or in part without permission of the National Association of REALTORS. For reprint information, contact

27 The National Association of REALTORS, The Voice for Real Estate, is America s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members, including NAR s institutes, societies and councils, involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. NAR membership includes brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in both residential and commercial real estate. The term REALTOR is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Working for America s property owners, the National Association provides a facility for professional development, research and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system and the right to own real property. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS RESEARCH DIVISION The Mission of the National Association of REALTORS Research Division is to collect and disseminate timely, accurate and comprehensive real estate data and to conduct economic analysis in order to inform and engage members, consumers, and policymakers and the media in a professional and accessible manner. To find out about other products from NAR s Research Division, visit NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Research Division 500 New Jersey Avenue, NW Washington, DC

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