Going Green: America’s Top Eco-Cities

by Nicole SelvaggiApril 3, 2013

Going green is becoming ever more popular in today’s real estate industry. Many homes are being built eco-friendly in order to save money and the environment. In honor of Earth Day, Homes.com shares the top eco-friendly cities in the U.S. Will the sustainability of these cities influence the sustainability of their housing market?

Going Green Top Eco-Cities US
The Huffington Post recently wrote an article on green U.S. cities. To celebrate Earth Day, Homes.com is exploring the top five eco-friendly cities mentioned. From clean energy to public transit, the following cities are reported to be making strides toward creating an environmentally-friendly area for their residents. Will these areas prove to have a sustainable real estate market too?

5: New York, NY

Huffington Post claims that it’s “no easy task to keep a teeming metropolis of over 8 million residents from turning into an environmental nightmare.” However, the city of New York, NY “excels in public transportation and does surprisingly well on greenhouse gases and public park space.” Additionally, the Big Apple exerts a significant impact upon a multitude of industries, including commerce, finance, media, and art. Is real estate among those industries? As we mentioned previously in our Home for the Holidays: Best Cities list, real estate is a major force in the city’s economy and New York is home to some of the nation’s most valuable properties. Currently, New York’s median list price on homes for sale holds steady just over $1 million.
New York, NY

4: Chicago, IL

In addition to being featured on our recent Three Cities That Are Going Green Infographic, the Windy City of Chicago, IL received recognition in the Huffington Post for its “boardwalks, parks, nature centers, organic restaurants, green hotels, and lots of eco-friendly shops.” Will this eco-friendly recognition also boost the housing environment? Opposite of New York, Chicago’s median asking price is relatively affordable at $225,000, but home prices may be on the rise as this listing price is almost a 10% increase from the previous month.
Chicago, IL

3: Seattle, WA

Dina Spector from Business Insider states that today, Seattle, WA “has one of the highest concentrations of green buildings in America.” Seattle, which appeared alongside Chicago in our recent infographic, is recognized for its environmental consciousness by making recycling the law. Could the recycling law and the high concentration of green buildings help improve the real estate market? Seattle’s median listing price is just over $417,000 and represents a 5% month-over-month increase.
Seattle, WA

2: Portland, OR

According to Travel + Leisure, “every day feels like Earth Day” in Portland, OR. The travel magazine also notes that “one fourth of the city is shaded by tree canopy, and the ground itself features 288 parks.” Also in our recent infographic, we mentioned that this city’s Green Building and Development Program has been working for over a decade to advance healthy building practices. Has this program paid off for the housing market? A local source reports that this city’s “apartment market continues to be red hot” and that “real estate in more urban parts” of Oregon has largely fared better. The current median list price on homes for sale is $343,000, while the median asking price on homes for rent is a relatively affordable $1,120 per month.
Portland, OR

1: San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA
Another west coast city, San Francisco, CA, takes the lead for the top eco-cities in America. This city “diverts a jaw-dropping 70 percent of its waste thanks to mandatory recycling and composting” and, “despite being more populated, has a lower annual output of greenhouse gases than its Pacific Northwest competition.” Does being the top eco-city in America help the local real estate economy? This city is known for having higher-priced real estate but also a fairly healthy housing market. Currently, the median list price is $844,000, which is an almost 6% increase from the previous month.

Can “going green” help save money, the environment, AND the housing market all at once? Kerry Mitchell, founder and course developer of Green Real Estate Education, reports that “even as we are seeing many lose their homes, or ‘going under’ because of slowing sales in the real estate sector,” there is a “new world of ‘going green'” that is creating as much opportunity as the historic gold rushes. These top eco-friendly cities clearly show that protecting the environment could also protect the value of real estate.

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Nicole Selvaggi
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