MAR Opposes Energy Scorecard Bill

MAR issued the news release below in response to An Act relative to consumer access to residential energy information that was filed by Governor Baker on Tuesday, April 3. MAR opposes mandatory energy scoring at the time of transfer.

Massachusetts Realtors® Oppose Energy Scorecard Bill Requiring Mandated Energy Scoring at Time of Sale

Bill will not improve energy efficiency, will hurt moderate-income homebuyers and restrict needed inventory reaching the market.

WALTHAM, Mass. – April 3, 2018 – The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) came out today in opposition to An Act relative to consumer access to residential energy information, because it won’t meet its intended goals of improving energy efficiency in the Commonwealth. As written, the bill will cause harm to moderate-income homeowners, and further hurt a housing market starving for inventory.

“Realtors® are for energy efficiency, but the mandatory nature of this bill won’t do what its supporters hope it will,” said 2018 MAR President Rita Coffey, general manager at CENTURY 21 Tullish & Clancy in Weymouth. “The key to increasing energy efficiency in Massachusetts is through incentives and not mandates. Programs like Mass Save that provide incentives is the right way to go.”

Massachusetts has distinguished itself as the most energy efficient state in the country every year since 2011, according to the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which is produced by the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy. The state’s success can be linked to the success of the voluntary Mass Save program.

According to MAR housing data, the number for homes for sale in Massachusetts has been going down for 72 of the last 73 months. This lack of inventory has pushed median home prices to their highest level on record. A mandatory energy audit required prior to a home being listed for sale would further restrict inventory levels at a time when more homes are needed to meet demand.

“Massachusetts is starved for housing inventory. In fact, it’s so severe, that we’re seeing the lowest number of homes on the market since we’ve been tracking this data,” said Coffey. “This scarcity is increasing home prices to a point where many first-time homebuyers are being forced out of the market and deciding to look in other states to buy a home.”

Energy Score: Another facet of this bill that MAR opposes is the requirement that each home that is listed for sale receive an energy efficiency score. Realtors® work to protect their clients and counsel their buyer on the benefits of having an energy efficiency inspection of a home they intend to purchase. Buyers are then able to use that information as they see fit. However, the mandatory nature would unfairly penalize moderate-income homeowner who cannot afford to make upgrades to improve the home’s score.

“This energy efficiency score would really stick it to moderate-income homeowners with older homes who can’t afford upgrades,” said Coffey. “Not every 53-year-old home is the same and to put an energy efficiency rating on them won’t improve energy efficiency.”

About the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®: Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® is a professional trade organization with more than 24,000 members. The term Realtor® is registered as the exclusive designation of members of the National Association of Realtors® who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and enjoy continuing education programs.