Energy-efficient homes 32 percent less likely to go into default, says study

Many of the advantages of upgrading to an eco-friendly house – such as saving money on monthly utility bills and reducing one's carbon footprint – have become common knowledge over the years, but the benefits don't end there. According to new data from the University of North Carolina – Center for Community Capital and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), homeowners who live energy-efficient properties have a 32 percent lower risk of defaulting on a mortgage. 

The study, entitled "Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Risks," examined 71,000 Energy Star and non-Energy Star-rated single-family home mortgages, using loan performance data from CoreLogic to determine the probability of default. The report found that the more green technology features a house included, the lower the risk of borrowers not being able to make their monthly loan payments was. 

"It stands to reason that energy-efficient homes should have a lower default rate, because the owners of these homes save money on their utility bills, and they can put that money toward their mortgage payments," said Cliff Majersik, executive director of IMT. "We long believed this to be the case, and now this study proves it. Successful housing market reforms will require reconsidering the risk factors in mortgage default, including energy costs."

Thanks to the state of Maryland's multiple rebate offerings, including those available from Pepco and Potomac Edison, it may be easier and more cost-effective than you think to make energy-efficient upgrades to your property. To get started, contact a home inspection contractor to request an energy audit. Additionally, keep in mind that some key tax credits made it into the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 as part of the fiscal cliff deal, meaning that homeowners can save up to $500 on certain green technology features.