by Jodi Summers
We thought it was the luxury condos being built in the neighborhood driving up the condo prices in downtown Santa Monica, but according to Redfin it’s because the units are greener than almost every other place in the country. Indeed, in 2015, Downtown Santa Monica was 3rd on the list of the greenest neighborhoods in the United States. What’s more 4 of the top 10 places greenest places to live in the U.S. are in Southern California.The study analyzed 2015 real estate home sales in 83 markets. Identifying which U.S. neighborhoods have the most eco-friendly homes, based on the percentage of homes that mentioned one or more “green” features. Villanova, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, topped the list with 57% of all homes mentioning green features. Second was the Villages of Irvine at 56%. Downtown Santa Monica came in at 51%.
Data scientists analyzed real estate listings for all of the homes in Redfin markets that sold in 2015 and identified those that mentioned one or more “green” features like “energy star,” “LEED,” “solar,” “green built,” etc. The study revealed that homes with green features sold for $33,894 more than the median sale price of all homes in the cities. Record-breaking droughts and high temperatures across the country have had more house hunters are looking for these amenities.
“As the rainy season draws to a close with a sad fizzle of predicted El Niño storms in Southern California, we now have five years of consecutive drought on record,” observed real estate agent Julie Jacobson. “The utility companies have mandated cutbacks, local building codes have adjusted and most homeowners and buyers are aware of the impact of home water consumption,”
Downtown Santa Monica came in with a rating of 51% because the City offers a variety of water and energy rebates for homeowners who plant drought-resistant landscaping, use rainwater collection systems, have energy-efficient appliances, and more. Obviously, it’s the new developments, like the eco-friendly condos at the Waverly and the Seychelle that put Downtown Santa Monica on the list. And since only rental units and a few high end condos are on the construction agenda, a couple of hundred new units coming to market have a big impact on sales. And, as you would expect, 96% of the green listings in Santa Monica were condo units.
“Thanks to programs like Solar Santa Monica, the City of Santa Monica has been recognized as a leader in green building initiatives, and the residents here really care about the environment,” notes realtor Alec Traub. “New condominium developments like the Village at Santa Monica, which is LEED-certified, have given residents more options for sustainable living.”
This conclusion was reached when real estate listings for all the homes that sold in 2015 in 83 major metropolitan areas were analyzed. It concluded that homes with one or more green features had a median price of $505,181, while the median price of all homes sold in the 83 markets last year was $471,287.(Obviously, we’re not talking just Santa Monica here.)