Green-Built Homes Face Financing Challenges
While Fannie Mae and some built-green groups are pioneering financial incentives for buyers of energy-efficient housing, green mortgages have a long way to go and even conventional financing can be out of reach for homes that are built with techniques that are a little too cutting-edge for conventional lenders, according to speakers at NAHB’s National Green Building Conference, which was held in Austin last month.
David Porter, first vice president of the National Builder Division for Countrywide Home Loans in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho, cited the benefits of Fannie Mae’s Energy Efficient Mortgage, which allows home buyers to add their savings on energy bills to their qualifying income and fold in the costs of energy improvements into the total mortgage.
However, Porter conceded that appraisers “don’t have any data” from comparable sales of homes with green features. To remedy the problem, he suggested that real estate agents should be required to include built-green on the multiple listing and property disclosure forms.
A member of the Sustainable Building Coalition, Straw Bale Association of Texas and City of Austin’s Green Building Program, Paul McCutchen, owner of Green Mountain Mortgage Company, Inc., said he decided to establish his niche in financing straw bale, cob, SIP, rammed earth, AAC and ICF homes that traditional lenders tend to avoid.