Green Mortgages Burlington VT
South Burlington, VT
South Burlington, VT
If you could save up to $200 a month in energy bills for 30 years, would you be willing to borrow an extra $5,000 for a home loan upfront? Probably yes.
That’s the power of energy-efficient mortgages, or “green” mortgages. Now, legislators, lenders, brokers and consumers are pushing for their wider use. Advocates say green mortgages can help solve several of the nation’s broader problems, including the energy crisis, the mortgage implosion and the slowing economy.
“These programs can offer significant solutions,” said Norm Ferrier, owner of Security Mortgage Corporation, which specializes in green loans, “because homeowners are desperately seeking ways to lower their energy costs.”
Green mortgages save money and energy over time by improving energy-efficiency Green mortgages allow home buyers to add as much as an additional 15 percent of the sale price into the loan, for upgrades such as energy-efficient windows, water heaters, or solar panels. The savings in energy bills offset the higher monthly mortgage payments and create more savings in the long run.
Since the 1970s, major lenders backed by Fannie, Freddie, and the VA, have financed green mortgages, which are currently promoted under the Energy Star program. But these products languished during years of cheap oil and easy, sub-prime loans. Lenders and brokers avoided green loans because they took longer to close, but yielded no extra profits.
Now, as the energy crunch and mortgage crises converge, lawmakers and lenders regard green mortgages as a solution to both. Residential and commercial investors also see new opportunities in green loans. “We are an emerging market at a time when the traditional market has imploded,” said Jeffrey Cole, founder of myenergyloan.com. “The secondary market is embracing green mortgages.”
Legislators are rushing to support green mortgages. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, signed by President Bush last month, includes a provision to streamline and promote green mortgages. The bill authorizes federal agencies to identify obstacles to existing products, recommend changes and educate the public.
Another federal bill would provide incentives to lenders offering lower interest rates on green residential and commercial mortgages. The Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods Act, introduced by U.S. Rep Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), passed the House Financial Services Committee in June and now awaits a House hearing.
A sign of green appeal across industries, the bill was broadly supported by 30 national organizations, including lenders, real estate agents, developers, housing groups, environmentalists and scientists. “We are at a crossroads with our housing markets and our energy consumption,” said Leslie Oliver, communications and policy director for Rep. Perlmutter. “There was incentive and buy-in from organizations across th...