What makes a home “green?”
A Brief History of Green Building
The green building trend began to take off as a reaction to the short-lived Oil Crisis of 1973-1974. Poor insulation and a lack of climate adaptation in buildings of this period meant homes were drafty and used fuel inefficiently. Meanwhile, fuel uncertainty caused prices to rise, however briefly, generating increased interest in both improved building techniques as well as wind and solar energy. The end of the Fuel Crisis restored low prices, decimating the alternative fuel industry. However, the over-insulated homes produced in the wake of the Crisis began showing troubling side effects by the 1980’s such as rotten wood inside walls, mold, sick building syndrome and fogged dual pane windows. As a result, building science took off so builders could make sense of and eventually prevent these issues while continuing to improve insulation and home efficiency.
Green Building Today
The original interest in green building has only grown, both as a reaction to the early 2000’s trend of large, inefficient homes and in light of growing environmental concerns. However, it’s the benefits of green building that have driven most of the industry’s growth and pushed even traditional builders to adapt some green building techniques.
Home Owner Benefits:
- Lower Energy Bills: through energy efficient lighting, equipment, and appliances
- Healthier and Comfortable Indoor Environment: consistent temperatures and reduced risks
- Increased Market Value: higher resale value of a home
- Financial Tax Incentives: state and federal tax credits for renewable energy and energy efficiency
- Performance Report: third party verification quantifying the home’s overall energy score, annual energy cost savings, and pollution prevention
- Reduced air pollution through energy efficiency
Most of the “green” certified homes in Asheville use the Green Built NC certification, which is a third party verified program. The home is tested and then scored on a check list.
Green Built NC
Green Built NC Homes is a statewide program in North Carolina that provides a certificate for builders who meet “green home” guidelines. These guidelines emphasize comfort, health, energy and water conservation, site preservation, and renewable energy use. This certification includes either ENERGY STAR certification, or a HERS Index of 85 or less and showing that the house is 15% better than the 2009 International Energy Code, plus inspection of additional items specific to the Green Built NC program.
- The Green Built NC program encompasses all aspects of environmental design and construction including:
- Site and Landscape: healthy outdoors by using erosion control and saving existing trees
- Water Efficiency: lower water bills by using high efficiency irrigation and plumbing fixtures
- Building Envelope: lower utility bills by using high efficiency windows and insulation
- Heating and Cooling Systems: higher comfort with efficiency equipment and sealed air ducts
- Appliances and Lighting: lower utility bills by using Energy Star appliances and lighting
- Indoor Air Quality: a healthy interior with non-toxic finishes and minimizing moisture
- Materials: a low maintenance home using durable, local, and recycled content materials
- Third Party Verification: reassures the home owners that your homes are reviewed by an independent team of high performance building professionals.
EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program was created to help identify the best ways to save energy. The little blue label says this product, this home, this building or factory is doing the right things to save energy. Energystar.gov offers the most comprehensive resource available for energy efficiency advice and information. ENERGY STAR certified homes are independently verified to meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes save money on utility bills, provide a more comfortable living environment with better indoor air quality, and help protect the environment.
- Typical features to look for in ENERGY STAR certified homes include:
- Efficient Walls and Windows, the levels of wall, floor and attic insulation properly installed designed to block drafts, and high-performance windows;
- Efficient Air Ducts, so rooms get enough air to have consistent, comfortable temperatures throughout the house;
- Efficient Equipment for heating, and cooling the house, helping you save money while staying comfortable;
- Efficient Lighting and Appliances, including ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers, refrigerators, light bulbs and clothes washers.
Better energy efficiency and performance means lower utility and maintenance costs. Homes earning the ENERGY STAR label use 15-30% less energy than typical cow homes, and even more when compared to most resale homes on the market today.
- Based on national averages, ENERGY STAR certified homes built in 2015 are the equivalent of:
- Reducing CO2 emissions by 141,952 metric tons
- Growing 3,607,528 tree seedlings for 10 years
- Avoiding the consumption of 330,131 barrels of oil
- Removing 29,867 passenger vehicles from the road
The Home Efficiency Rating System (HERS) is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured relative to other buildings. It’s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance, similar to the Miles Per Gallon (MPG) rating for cars. The lower the HERS rating the more efficient the house. To calculate a HERS score, the variables under consideration include all exterior walls, flooring, ceilings and roof, foundation, windows, doors, vents and ductwork, HVAC systems, water heating systems, etc.
The current International Energy Efficiency Code (IECC) is a HERS score of 100. What does all of this mean to you? A low HERS rating can mean high resale value, lower utility bills, better air quality and lower environmental impact.
For more on HERS Scores and their meaning: http://www.resnet.us/hers-index-score-card
Written by LeAnn Bound, Broker, REALTOR. LeAnn and her husband James founded GreenCraft, a locally owned and operated green building company that focuses on energy efficient design and environmentally sound building practices. LeAnn uses her first hand knowledge of green building to assist buyers, sellers, and new home buyers.
Market Report for October 2016
With prices up and inventory down, the market was hot for sellers in October, which is consistent with the trends we saw in August and September. In fact, the median home price in Asheville continues to show increase month over month. That said, we are seeing the months supply of homes has leveled off and in some cases risen slightly, meaning that market growth is becoming more consistent and less extreme. This conclusion is also supported by the data for days on the market, which has been ticking up ever since it hit the lowest point in years in June/July.
Asheville City Market Report
Buncombe County Market Report
If you’d like to see more data from these locations or want to know what’s happening in a different part of Western North Carolina, we invite you to email one of our agents or call us at 828-232-4030. We’d love to provide more information so you have a better picture of what these real estate trends mean for you.
Congratulations to Our New BIC: Bethany Behrmann!
DixonPacifica Real Estate is thrilled to announce that Bethany Behrmann has been promoted to Broker-in-Charge & Director of Recruiting. She has been a Broker/REALTOR with the company since March 2014.
“We’ve been representing buyers and sellers in Western North Carolina for almost four years and are excited about pursuing new growth opportunities and providing additional tools and support to our Brokers,” said Tad Dixon, DixonPacifica Real Estate Owner. “Bethany is a natural leader who has an excellent reputation amongst area real estate professionals and in our community. She has already been an outstanding resource for our Brokers, and I’m highly confident she will continue providing our clients with the highest level of service.”
Bethany returned home to Western North Carolina in 2001 and, after a rewarding 12-year career in international student exchange, became a full-time real estate Broker in 2009. She has been named both a DixonPacifica top producer and an Asheville Top 100 Broker. She carries several industry designations: Accredited Buyer’s Representative, Seniors Real Estate Specialist and Strategic Pricing Specialist. On top of her Broker-in-Charge duties she will lead recruiting efforts. “We are committed to hiring top quality Brokers, and Bethany will continue seeking out the best of the best,” said Dixon.
“I’m excited to help the company grow and excited about the challenge of finding the right Brokers for our office,” Behrmann said. “I like thinking outside the box on how we can serve and support Brokers’ needs. We have amazing marketing materials, support systems and people in our company – I can’t wait to share this with Brokers looking to make a change.”
Bethany is an active volunteer with Manna Food Bank, the Estes Elementary PTA, and Fellowship Asheville. She lives in South Asheville with her husband, Jens, daughter, Laura, and two dogs, Riley and Tillie, and enjoys international travel, hiking, home staging, and exploring area restaurants in her spare time.
Market Report for September 2016
We’ve analyzed the data for September and have compiled the real estate market stats and trends we’re seeing in Asheville and Buncombe County. Perhaps most interesting to us this month was the year over year drop in home supply across all price brackets for single family homes.
Asheville City Market Report
Buncombe County Market Report
For a more specific picture of what’s going on in your neighborhood, price range, or in a different part of WNC, contact us or give us a call at (828) 232-4030. Our agents are knowledgable and eager to help!
DixonPacifica Celebrates Three Years
Think back to January 2013. Bruno Mars “Locked out of Heaven” was top of the charts. The economy was starting to recover, and DixonPacifica opened its doors to residents and aspiring-to-be-residents of Asheville, North Carolina. What started as two locals talking big dreams over a cup of coffee has since grown into a multi-million dollar real estate company. In January 2013, DixonPacifica was born.
Much has happened since then: Asheville’s population has grown about 4% (That’s 14,000 new residents!), 16 breweries have opened in the Asheville area, and our downtown office has overlooked 47 Friday night drum circles in Pritchard Park. We have made a point to put down sturdy roots and invest in the Asheville area. Our brokers are on boards and committees for the Boys & Girls Club, United Way, school PTO’s and the Buncombe County Sports Commission, and because of our brokers’ success, DixonPacifica is able to contribute to local charities including Manna Food Bank, Brother Wolf, Boys & Girls Club, Buncombe County Schools Foundation and United Way. In support of fellow small businesses, we’ve had fun taking clients and friends to Asheville Tourist games, LaZoom tours, the Holiday Parade, Downtown after 5 socials, wine tastings and bike events. We deeply value the relationships we’ve built with clients, agents and the community over this time and appreciate the confidence you have shown to us.
We know our team of brokers is truly the reason we’ve been successful beyond our expectations. We are honored to work with such hard-working and trustworthy professionals. They constantly strive to offer the highest quality advice and representation to our clients, and we are thankful for everything they do. Since opening, we are proud to have been able to hire nine brokers with a combined 74 years of real estate experience, and they’ve certainly proven their skill with more than $55 million in sales and over 130 homes sold in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.
One thing that’s been confirmed to us since DixonPacifica started is that real estate is constantly changing. We seek out and embrace new technology and are one of the most agile real estate companies in the area. If there is a program or strategy which improves the service we provide we are quick to implement it, which is why we’re the only paperless real estate office in WNC.
Looking forward we want to continuing growing our company while maintaining our high standards. Our brokers are carefully chosen for their communication and negotiation skills, pro-active nature, ability to fully understand a client’s needs and be trusted advisors. Our agents make DixonPacifica what it is, and we are proud of them. It’s been an amazing three years and we look forward to many more.
Arden Broker Open House Today
Bethany Behrmann will be holding a broker open house today at 120 Christa Lane in Arden, NC. This home features:
– 4 Bedrooms 3.5 bathrooms
– 5300 Square feet
– MLS 575644
Beautiful two story home with walkout lower level and mountain views in Powder Creek Estates. Hardwood floors, granite counters, glass back splash are just a few notable features. Private, wooded setting with two large decks for entertaining or taking in the views. Custom closet systems, generator and tons of storage. Like new condition and move-in ready.
DixonPacifica Real Estate Is Excited To Welcome Holly Martin!
Holly is an #Asheville native and for 17 years she found immense joy teaching, coaching and mentoring high school students. She played field hockey for four years at Davidson College and continues to coach at Carolina Day. Her husband, Mark, is a local real estate attorney and a great resource for her clients. As you can imagine real estate is a constant topic of conversation in her home, and she strives to stay current on the latest legal, marketing and sales trends. Holly is ready to help you with all of your real estate needs. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 Housing Market Predictions for Asheville in 2015
The U.S. had the best economic year in 2014 since the recession in 2008-2009 and 2015 looks even better. With an accelerating economy and job growth here in Asheville and across the nation we have a great feeling about 2015.
Data taken from Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke @ Realtor.org. The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce & The N.C. Mountain MLS.
- Millennial Buyers Hit The Market: The millennial generation is beginning its ascent. Yes, they have faced huge challenges in the job market, but employment is improving, and older millennials are planning ahead. According to the National Association of Realtors about 65% of first-time home buyers are part of this older millennial group (ages 25-34), these young adults are at an age when many marry and start families. Of the millennials who are buying a home, 86% indicate that their motivation is a change in family size. More than two-thirds of household growth in the next five years is expected to come from millennials, according to Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. This generation is bigger than the baby boomer generation, so even though its youngest members will be only 15 in 2015, the market is only beginning to feel its impact. Full article @ Realtor.org.
- Home Prices will slowly start to appreciate in the greater Asheville area: Home prices in the city of Asheville have increased nearly 5% from 2.3% in 2013 and pace of home sales has increased 4.6% over last year. According to our Chamber, Asheville area job growth is outperforming the nation and most of NC. Our unemployment rate is 4.9%, down over 1.6% from last year. We will likely see improving sales pace and more appreciation in Buncombe County and across WNC depending on neighborhood, condition of house and other factors. According to our MLS the sales trend is pointing upwards and we are looking forward to a strong 2015.
- Credit problems/New Changes May Make Getting a Mortgage Easier: If you have had past credit problems or can’t save up enough to cover a large down payment, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may have just cut you a break when it comes to getting a mortgage. Stricter credit score limits, large down payments and even heavy paperwork requirements have kept many would-be borrowers from buying a home in recent years, but new rules put in place by the government-sponsored enterprises may change that. Realtor.com/blog.
- Mortgage Rates Will Head Back Up Later in the Year: The flip side of the improving economy is that mortgage rates will head up again. We’ve had a great run, but the honeymoon is over, and it’s time to settle in for a relationship that balances job growth with higher-but-still-reasonable interest rates. The Federal Reserve has indicated it will increase the federal funds rate—which has an indirect but significant effect on mortgage rates—next year. The rate has remained near zero since December 2008. Although the Fed might wait as late as early 2016, realtor.com® Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke suggested the increase will come in mid-2015, and mortgage rates will increase ahead of the Fed’s move. “Our forecast for housing assumes the 30-year fixed rate will reach 5% by the end of 2015,” Smoke said. “The one-year adjustable rate will likely rise less if much at all, and accordingly, we are likely to see a shift into more adjustable and hybrid mortgages over fixed.”
- We Will Close Out the Foreclosure Crisis: It’s been seven years since the housing bubble burst and foreclosures skyrocketed, but in 2015 we’ll see the end of that era. Already this year has seen a major decrease in foreclosures and short sales.
“We are on pace for foreclosure inventories to end 2014 down more than 30%, and next year should see a slightly greater decrease as foreclosures fall to normal levels,” Smoke said. Full article @ Realtor.org.
- Builders Will Break New Ground in Asheville & Nationwide: Although total housing starts (construction on new housing units) barely broke 1 million in 2014 and was driven by multifamily homes, Smoke noted the pace will pick up in 2015 and shift in focus.
“We are forecasting 16% growth in starts, driven now more by growth in single-family starts, which we are expecting to grow 21%,” he said. In Asheville, we had a 5.3% decrease in number of residential building permits over 2013 (1061 vs. 1120 in ’13), we expect to see more housing starts in 2015, as there is a great need for new construction & solid inventory in and around Asheville and Buncombe County.
Happy Holidays from all of us at DixonPacifica Real Estate.
Wishing all of you a joyous Holiday Season and a healthy & prosperous New Year!
DixonPacifica Real Estate is Hosting The Asheville Downtown Member Mixer
The Asheville Downtown Association Member Mixer is Today from 5:30-7:30 and we are hosting it! Come on over and enjoy free wine, beer and snacks! #Asheville #ADA
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