Green may be the buzzword of the day in the construction industry, but buyers are increasingly skeptical when they find out green homes may cost more greenbacks.
A recent NAHB survey of its members showed this trend holding strong.
"Buyers have consistently said they want to be energy efficient, but stop when the better windows, insulation and appliances begin to cost too much – over $5,000 for an average new home," Stephen Melman, economics director for the National Association of Home Builders, told WalletPop.
There were some regional variations, with builders in the West reporting more interest in water efficiency and those in the Northeast reporting interest in homes built with recycled materials. But only 11% of the builders even reported that their customers were asking about environmentally friendly features, according to the survey.
"Although we are seeing significant interest in green building, cost effectiveness is clearly a key concern among home buyers," NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a home builder and developer in Tulsa, Okla, said in the organization's release on the August survey. "Builders said that among buyers who are willing to pay more for green features, more than half -- 57 percent -- are unlikely to pay more than an additional 2 percent."
The findings bolster the NAHB's 2007 home buyers survey, which showed that 93% wanted high levels of insulation, but, while 44% said they wanted an environment-friendly home, only 17% would pay more for it. Even when they were told that energy efficiencies would save them $1,000 a year in utility costs, a third of the home buyers surveyed said they still would not spend more than $5,000 extra.
Among baby boomers polled by the NAHB in a separate survey earlier this year, the difference was even greater: 37% wanted an environment-friendly home, but only 12% would pay more.
Going green? Not so much