There is a new awakening sweeping our culture and it is likely to have a significant impact on housing markets and the wallets of real estate investors. It’s a green, eco-friendly, healthy, socially conscious awakening, and it could be very good for all of us. Real estate investors who take advantage of green housing practices may be rewarded accordingly. These may not be brand new concepts, but they may be based upon accumulated knowledge.
Powerful change is afoot. It’s been seen in crowdfunding, an eagerness to donate versus spend, dozens of new social start-ups and green design taking over campuses across the country. This could simply be a part of another series of cycles that we have seen in housing and finance markets, but it appears to be much bigger and have a far longer lifespan this time around.
We are likely just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Right or wrong, there is a lot of money and many bright minds taking change seriously.. According to an EPA official via Fox News, not only has the agency been working on new ways of shaping the economy without having to go through congress, but they have been working on programs to ‘modify the DNA’ of capitalism. Whether individuals feel comfortable with big brother directing their psyche or not, this may not be a bad thing for the planet or the health of future generations.
What does all of this mean for U.S. property markets? Those that fail to recognize or embrace this trend might feel the pinch in their wallets, while others could find it the best thing that ever happened in the industry. Most significantly, this is playing out in North America with communities and celebrities pushing back against big energy developments and trends toward building and living in more eco-friendly homes and communities.
Fortunately, many real estate businesses are already way ahead of the game and have not only been building healthier and more environmentally homes, but have been building greener organizations from the ground up. Green practices are leading real estate companies from office design, to business models and giving back.
Some fear this could mean a mass exodus from the dense urban centers or the older low end rental areas they have been investing in. Of course, in reality, green living is an out of reach luxury for many in America. It shouldn’t be, but the main point here is that price is becoming less of a deciding factor in renting, buying, building, developing and investing.
We are also seeing dense urban cores like New York and Detroit see green inner city farming projects develop, and local governments opening up to permit and offer financial breaks and incentives to green companies and projects.
For the individual real estate investor or small investment firm, this suggests there are many advantages in incorporating sustainable features and technologies, using green building materials, and branding their businesses this way. In other words, it now pays to do the right thing, which is a huge game changer.