In America, existing home sales, new home sales, and median prices have dropped substantially. Worse still, the inventory of existing homes for sale has increased. Large num bers of homes are either under foreclosure proceedings or are now owned by lenders. For the most part, these homes will be sold at low prices, putting downward pressure on the market overall. Unemployment is rising, and consumer confidence is at very low levels aparticularly harmful problem faces the housing market, because it is now much more difficult to qualify for and obtain a mortgage. (Plunkett Research)
Another trend on the rise is the increased demand for green building practices that utilize socially responsible methods of production through the use of recycled, renewable, and reused resources to improve efficiencies. These methods include such terms as “sustainable sites,” “water and energy efficiency,” “atmospheric conditions,” and “indoor environmental quality.” Local governments are developing strict codes in which builders, developers, and municipalities must comply with in the foreseeable future (www.premium.hoovers.com).The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides funding to be used for specials projects and initiatives associated with making energy efficiency a priority. These projects include energy efficiency in residential housing, multifamily performance programs, and new or renovated construction projects.