By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Lately, it seems like everywhere I look on the Web, I find some kind of best-of list for the past decade. Not wanting us to be left out of this retrospective frenzy, I thought I’d compile my own list of the top 10 developments in real estate through the ‘00s.
Each day between now and Monday, Dec. 21, I’ll be overviewing the 10 best—and worst—things this decade had to offer for real estate professionals right here on Speaking of Real Estate. So, without further delay, here’s #10 on the list:
#10: Going Green
Back in the early 1980s, homes started to get bigger on average. By the 1990s, many builders were constructing houses so large—yet so similar—that the term “McMansion” had been coined to describe the huge structures with cookie-cutter designs that stood on quarter-acre lots across America.
Sometime early in the ‘oos, a backlash against these houses reached a critical mass due to a combination of the rise of New Urbanism, greater awareness of environmental issues, and the practical realities of the economic downturns that bookended this decade. In addition to the aesthetic revulsion these homes often provoked, the McMansions were reviled by many for being energy eaters. More than one-fifth of all energy used in the United States in 2006 was consumed by residential buildings, and these houses were a major contributor to that figure.
Nowadays, the watchwords in housing are sustainable development, small energy footprints, and green architecture. More builders are starting to use recycled materials in construction and incorporating renewable energy sources into designs—and getting the attention of consumers with these efforts.
However, the push to go green in real estate has occasionally produced a backlash of its own. For instance, many practitioners are apprehensive about overzealous energy regulations for homes, particularly with the proposed Cap and Trade bill. Also, some believe that once the economy improves, Americans will resume their big-house-lovin’ ways.
Whether the green movement in real estate is a long-term trend remains to be seen. But no one can deny that it’s been an important development in this decade.
Other Major Real Estate Developments of the Decade
1. Housing Goes Boom and Bust
2. The Fall of Fannie and Freddie
3. Government-Led Recovery
4. The Practitioner Explosion
5. Commercial Crash
7. Record Lows in Mortgage Rates
9. Real Estate on TV