Five trends that affected real estate in 2014

By Kelly Leighton | Dec. 30, 2014 | 2 min. read

As 2014 comes to a close, what trends had the most impact on Realtors® this year? Time complied a list of five trends in the industry and how they impacted business in 2014. Most were solar trends, showing that society is still interested and invested in being green.

  1. Energy efficiency – The cost of residential solar panels has fallen about seven percent per year since 2000, according to the Department of Energy. This decrease in price makes solar a more profitable upgrade to your clients’ homes.
  2. Financing options for solar energy – Time also reports that there are better financing options for energy efficiency. Low-interest, no-money-down solar loans are now offered by lenders such as some banks, credit unions and through major solar-panel sellers like SolarCity. David Feldman, senior financial analyst for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, compared loans to leasing, which has been the most popular way of going solar. He says a typical system, which might lease for $168 a month over 20 years, would cost $136 or less per month with a loan, reports Time.
  3. Improved resale value for homes with solar panels – A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that homes with owned, not leased, solar panels could sell for almost $25,000 more than comparable non-solar homes.
  4. Commission- Despite home prices rising and falling over the past few years, the commission sellers pay to sell has stuck around five percent or so, split between listing and buyer’s agents. However, Time suggests that price-cutting is picking up again, as brokerage Redfin cut its 1.5 percent fee to list a home to one percent in the D.C. area this year.
  5. Mortgages – Mortgages received an overhaul in 2014, which could mean a higher score for some consumers. Fair Isaac, which computes the most commonly used credit score, the FICO score, announced it would no longer penalize borrowers who had a bill sent to collections if the balance was later paid or settled. Previously, even those paid accounts had remained a blemish for up to seven years.

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