Earth Day Edition

In honor of Earth Day being Sunday, we’re going to cover green homes and sustainable home design in this week’s newsletter. There’s a great new analysis on how much (or little) green features add to home prices – spoiler alert, it really depends on where you live and how prevalent the technology is in your area. We’ll also cover lots of local Earth Day events happening around town. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Spring without an update on local real estate. It sounds like a broken record – tight inventory, higher prices. You know the story.

3D printing is one of my favorite topics, and very Earth Day appropriate. There have been 3D printed homes popping up here and there, but now architect Massimiliano Locatelli has created an ultra-stylish home for Milan Design Week. It was constructed in less than 48 hours using concrete that sets rapidly and dehydrates in 24 hours (vs 28 days for traditional concrete). With brass fittings and exposed concrete walls, this house is uber cool.

Everyone knows LED lights are more efficient, but designers are finding even more ways to make lighting sustainable by using innovative materials. Architectural Digest has a great list of some of the best designs, from portable and rechargeable to recycled materials.

And, just for fun, here’s a selection¬†of some favorite interiors and tabletop shots using every shade of green!


If you’re looking for something to do for Earth Day this weekend, Washingtonian has a great list of local events around town. For instance, you can go “plogging” – which is apparently a combination of jogging and litter clean up! Curbed also has a great map of neighborhood clean up efforts.

On the real estate front, inventory was extremely tight in March, with new listings down 7.6% region-wide versus last year. In DC proper, new listings fell 3.1% vs 2017, with inventory down 9% overall. As a result, sales for the region are down 4.8%, with the District down 9%. With homes in such short supply, prices continued to rise in March, up 3.6% vs last year, hitting another decade high.

Looking for a region with plenty of “green” homes? Well, Fort Collins, CO tops the list with 36% of active listings citing at least one sustainable feature. With such a plethora of green homes, do these homes still command a higher price tag relative to comparable homes with no green features? According to, the answer is no. There is virtually no difference. This is also true in many regions in California, where homes listed with solar panels sell for virtually the same price as homes without. And, it makes sense. As the technology begins to proliferate a region, it becomes commonplace and therefore commands less of a premium. But, this is not the case everywhere, and not for every sustainable living feature. In several regions in Connecticut, where Energy Star-rated homes makes up 4% of active listings, prices are over 20% more per square foot vs comparable homes. Similarly, programmable thermostats in Tulsa, OK, command a 17% premium.

Interest rates continued to march higher this week on positive economic data and continued concerns over tariffs. The 10-year US Treasury yield hit 2.96% on Friday, the highest since January 2014. Mortgage rates followed suit with Freddie Mac’s weekly survey showing the 30-year borrowing rate at 4.47%, up from 4.42% the week prior. And, as of Friday, lenders were quoting the 30-year mortgage rate in the 4.5-4.625% range.

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