Comfort Zone: Creating a Middle Ground for Green Building and Great Profits
By Alison Rice
Financing has often been the missing piece in green home sales. But attitudes are changing, especially at Fannie Mae. "We want to encourage lenders and builders to be more resource efficient and give the consumer benefits based on the fact that they're spending less on utilities," says Jim Taylor, director of product development in Fannie Mae's housing impact division. "They're a better credit risk to us because they're not spending that money on utilities."
Nationally, Fannie Mae offers an energy-efficient mortgage, which allows a lender to use the estimated monthly utility savings to increase an applicant's buying power and qualify them for a higher-priced home.
Taylor estimates that the lender did quite well in its first mortgage energy business. He expects the specific numbers to jump higher as Fannie Mae conducts more marketing and product development.
Some buyers may have a second option: Fannie Mae's home performance power product, which boosts an applicant's monthly income by the home's monthly energy savings. Lower utility cost is just one requirement of this mortgage, which is available only in specific markets. In Albuquerque, N.M., for example, a home must demonstrate energy efficiency and be located within 5 miles of downtown.
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