How Transportation Trends Can Affect the Housing Market

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You may have heard the phrase, "Electrify everything." As the world moves toward electricity generation free from fossil fuels, the transportation sector is considering strategies to follow suit, including battery-powered scooters, electric-assist bike shares and an increased number of electric vehicles (EVs). Toyota recently announced a partnership with Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics that will use EVs to transport fans and athletes around. Lithium-ion battery prices are rapidly decreasing, making both EVs and battery storage systems paired with photovoltaics (PV) more economically feasible. How exactly does this intersect with the building sector? Many countries, states and municipalities are now considering EV charging mandates, as infrastructure is needed to facilitate market growth and to help ease “range anxiety,” the concept that EVs can only travel so far on one charge and there might not be a charging station nearby. Some examples include:
  • The United Kingdom recently proposed a mandate that would require all new homes and offices to install EV chargers.
  • Howard County, Md., already has an ordinance that requires one charging station for every 25 apartment units and pre-wiring to be installed on single-family homes.
  • Atlanta and San Francisco have "EV Readiness" ordinances, which are less costly to builders and homeowners than mandating the installation of the charger in its entirety. "EV Readiness" usually entails installing wiring, conduit, and circuits so that it is easier to install the actual charger in the future.
New mandates such as these can have an impact on housing affordability, as additional cost prices out many potential future homeowners. NAHB estimates that if the median U.S. new home price goes up by $1,000, more than 127,000 households would be priced out of the housing market nationwide. Alternatives to mandates could include voluntary programs and incentives to make the installation of charging stations more affordable. States could consider re-purposing VW settlement funds  to provide subsidies to build public EV charging stations to diminish the cost to builders and home buyers. To learn more about federal and state incentives for EVs, visit the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website. For more information about NAHB’s sustainable and green building programs, contact Program Manager Anna Stern. To stay current on the high-performance residential building sector, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.

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