Multifamily housing takes an energy efficient turn

The housing market is changing in more ways than one, with the three largest hitters, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), establishing a better hold on energy efficiency for multifamily units.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Staff Blog, all three institutions are now offering mortgage loans that encourage owners and developers of apartment buildings to manage their property more efficiently. The benefits are projected to be great, especially for residents who will have lower monthly costs overall.

Market trends continue to indicate that energy efficiency is an important part of housing for consumers. If a building is found to be an "energy hog" or one that has no clear form of energy efficient means, possible tenants may look elsewhere to raise their family. The value of the property will then fall as lower monthly costs elsewhere attract these potential applicants instead.

The FHA stated its policy would offer owners of apartment buildings a discount if certain efficiency requirements are met, including Energy Star standards. In addition, Fannie Mae has offered price breaks for highly efficient properties, as well as Freddie Mac in terns of small rebates.

The NRDC is currently working in 12 different states to increase energy efficiency in multifamily housing, with a projected cut to electricity use by as much as 26 percent.

"This is one significant element to expand the availability of affordable and workforce rental housing in America and we will continue to advocate for other measures toward these critically important objectives," said David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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