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Homes with eco-friendly features can sell faster than expected, indicating that today's buyers are seeking out and competing for homes that are more sustainable.

A Zillow analysis finds homes with electric vehicle charging stations and drought-resistant landscaping can sell more than nine days faster than similar homes. Features that offer some protection from climate disasters and other natural hazards, such as hurricane shutters or stilts, can help a home sell for more money.

“Climate change is impacting what buyers are looking for in a home and how they want to live,” said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert. “A previous Zillow survey found nearly two-thirds of young adults believe climate change will affect their homes or communities in their lifetime. Those generations are now aging into their prime home-buying years, conscious of their ecological footprint and making purchase decisions based on their beliefs, values and principles.”

Zillow research finds that large shares of buyers seriously consider flooding (55%), tornadoes (41%), hurricanes (35%) and earthquakes (29%) when choosing a home. The frequency of these severe weather events and other natural hazards is putting a price premium on homes that have features designed to protect against such disasters.

Listings that mention hurricane or storm shutters can sell for 1.4% more than similar homes. Homes on stilts or piers, built to defend against flooding, can sell for 1.1% more. Homes that have undergone seismic retrofitting to make them more resistant to earthquakes can sell 19 days faster than similar homes, the largest days-on-market boost of all the features studied. Storm or tornado shelters contribute to a home selling about a day faster than expected.

Features that reduce monthly energy bills can help a home sell faster and, sometimes, for more money. Homes with listing descriptions that mention double-pane windows can sell a week faster than similar homes and for 1% more than expected. Homes with solar panels can sell for 1.4% more. Listings that tout programmable thermostats, smart sprinkler systems and smart lights can sell up to six days faster than expected.

Energy-saving features are increasingly desirable in a high-inflation world where many other expenses are rapidly rising. Zillow's 2021 Consumer Housing Trends report found that recent buyers are more likely to say an energy-efficient home is very or extremely important (67%), compared to 2019, when 56% of buyers felt that way. And in a recent survey, a panel of housing experts predicted energy prices would increase this year more than home prices, rents, food costs, wages and stock prices.

Zillow looked at environment-related features mentioned in listing descriptions for 3.1 million home sales in 2020 and 2021. Sellers whose homes have these upgrades would be wise to highlight them in their listing description if they're looking to sell for top dollar. Zillow’s new Homes to Compare tool helps buyers identify green features by giving shoppers a comprehensive chart that compares up to five homes side by side on more than 70 key listing details, including eco-friendly home features.


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