Will Home Energy Scores Improve Housing Affordability in Portland?

portland home energy score

Enter any Portland bar or coffee shop and you’re likely to hear the topic of Portland’s high housing cost being discussed. If you own a home here, you already know the trajectory: What once was a small, slow-growth city is now a hotspot for tech businesses, millennials, and retirees alike. As Portland has taken off, home values have gone up in pace. As a result, homes in Portland are not as affordable as they used to be.

But what do we really mean when we say affordable? For some people, it’s the up-front cost of a home. For others, it means being able to afford to stay in the home for as long as they like. That’s where home energy scores in Portland and home energy reports can play a big role.

Right now, Portland’s housing market stands at 2.2 months of inventory, with an average sale price of $436,400. That’s good news for home sellers, especially with the quick turnaround time we’re seeing: an average of 60 days on the market. (Which also demonstrates that fears about the new home energy score policy causing real estate values to decline were unfounded.)

For home buyers, those housing market numbers may be daunting, but the presence of home energy scores in Portland can offer some affordability relief. That’s because homes have a lot of costs beyond the mortgage payment. When buying a home, people have to factor in the cost of furnishings, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and utility costs. While the first three items on that list are relatively easy to predict and budget for, utility costs have always been a wild card — until now.

Instead of judging homes based on how they seem they might perform, home buyers are empowered with the data contained in the home energy score report provided by the Portland seller. It’s a little like having a miles-per-gallon rating for a car they’re about to buy. More efficient cars may cost more up front, but they’ll be saving money in the long run. Similarly, buyers may look at the home energy score report from two different Portland homes and consider that while Home A is $20,000 less, the cost of upgrading all the windows to lower its high utility bills makes it comparable to Home B, which already has energy-saving windows and better insulation.

In the Portland real estate market, the impact of the new home energy score reports will be easier to measure in the long term. As with any new source of data, it will take buyers some time to become accustomed to converting that information into buying decisions. Over time, however, we may see a marked effect of energy-efficient home improvements on the Portland housing market. Less efficient homes will be valued less, while more efficient homes will be valued more.

Curious as to how your home will score? Order a home energy score in Portland today and better prepare for the future, whether you want to sell your home in the future or simply want to have a better cost of living in your own home now.