Archive January 19, 2015

Home Shoppers Value Energy Efficiency

Homes with energy-efficient and environmentally- friendly features are more important to prospective buyers than other features, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Nine out of 10 recent home buyers say that heating and cooling costs were somewhat or very important when considering a home for purchase. Nearly four out of 10 buyers say a home’s heating and cooling costs were very important when shopping for a home, followed by energy-efficient appliances and lighting, each at 24 percent.

Buyers in the North and South regions of the country placed a greater importance on heating and cooling costs, most likely due to more extreme temperatures in those areas. Also nearly 60 percent of buyers who purchased homes built in 2011 said HVAC costs were very important, compared to less than 30 percent of owners whose homes were built before 1910.

“Going green has proven to be more than a trend; many people now seek out this way of living and want homes and communities that are more resource efficient and sensitive to the environment,” says 2013 NAR President Gary Thomas. “As energy savings and green building features are becoming more important to buyers, sellers and businesses, it comes as no surprise that consumers are placing a higher value on properties with those features.”

CRS Your Home Newsletter, December 2013

Heart Healthy Neighborhoods

Living in a friendly neighborhood may be good for your heart, according to a recent study by psychologists at the University of Michigan. In fact, the more social connections you have among your neighbors, the less likely you are to die from a heart attack.

The study analyzed the social connections of more than 5,000 adults in urban, suburban and rural areas over a four- year period. Researchers controlled for factors like age, race, income, marital status, education, mental health, optimism and other known health-risk factors associated with heart attacks, such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. By the end of the four years, 148 of the individuals studied had suffered a heart attack.

Maintaining friendly relationships with your neighbors may be good for your health because neighbors are more likely to check on each other and notice any potential health problems, share resources and health information, and lend money. They can also offer emotional support, which can be a buffer during times of stress.

Conversely, other studies have shown that negative aspects of a neighborhood can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health. For example, living in areas with violence, noise, poor air quality and access to too many fast food restaurants can have a negative impact on a person’s health. Further, a study at the University of Pennsylvania finds that living in areas with abandoned buildings can lead to isola- tion and hamper social relationships, which can lead to poor physical health of residents who live nearby.

Being helpful and neighborly is not only good for your health, it’s good for the health of the neighborhood.

CRS Your Home Newsletter November/December, 2014