Top Markets for Green Homes in 2021

Aerial drone view of solar panel community, top markets for green homes concept

In recent years, green and high-performance properties have captured a rapidly growing share of the new home market in the U.S.—and this trend is expected to continue in 2022. As an appraiser, you know it takes a certain level of specialized knowledge and skill to value these types of complex properties. Do you work in an area where it makes sense to specialize in green home appraisals? Here’s an overview of the top markets for green homes in 2021.

Top 10 states for LEED-certified homes

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, providing a framework for healthy, efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. In late January 2022, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its Top 10 States for LEED in 2021 report, with Illinois topping the list and demonstrating national leadership in green building.

According to the USGBC report, the top ten 10 states for LEED-certified residential buildings are:

  1. Illinois
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Colorado
  5. Virginia
  6. California
  7. Maryland
  8. Oregon
  9. Utah
  10. Nevada

Washington, D.C., does not appear in the official top 10 list because of its status as a federal district (not a state). However, it consistently leads the nation in LEED-certified square footage per capita. In 2021, Washington, D.C., certified 29.46 square feet of space per resident across 103 green building projects, compared to 3.16 certified gross square feet across 87 green building projects in Illinois.

Free guide: Interested in appraising green properties? Download this free ebook to learn the ins and outs of green home appraising.

Green real estate market projections for 2022

According to a press release by the USGBC, the 2021 World Green Building Trends report from Dodge Data shows that, “green building continues to remain a global priority, driven by extreme events and despite rising concerns like the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Green building is projected to continue its rapid growth in 2022, and USGBC remains focused on supporting further market transformation and innovation,” said Peter Templeton, president and CEO, USGBC. “It is particularly encouraging to see policy leadership at all levels of government promoting green building practice and performance—from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to local code enhancements.”

Best and worst states for overall “greenness”

Individual states’ overall rankings for environmental friendliness may also give an indication of U.S. markets where green homes and energy efficient features are more (or less) likely to grow in demand. According to WalletHub’s Greenest States report released in April 2021, the top five most environmentally friendly states are:

  • Vermont
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • California

The five least environmentally friendly states are:

  • West Virginia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Kentucky

WalletHub compared each of the 50 states on 25 key metrics based on environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors, and climate change contributions. View the full rankings to find out where your state falls in the list.

Do you operate your appraisal business in one of the top markets for green homes in 2021? Are you noticing an uptick in the number of LEED-certified buildings or the popularity of green home features in your local area? Sharpen your skills and get ahead of the competition by becoming a Certified Green Home Appraiser.

Further reading: Get helpful tips and guidance in our post, 5 Tips for Appraising Green Homes.

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