April is new homes month. And one of the virtues of a newly constructed home is the savings that come from reduced energy and maintenance expenses.
Data from the 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS) offer proof. The AHS classifies new construction as homes no more than four years old.
For example, for routine maintenance expenses, 26% of all homeowners spent $100 or more a month on various upkeep costs. However, only 11% of owners of newly constructed homes spent this amount. In fact, 73% of new homeowners spent less than $25 a month on routine maintenance costs.
Similar findings are available for energy expenses. On a median per square foot basis, homeowners spent 78 cents per square foot per year on electricity. Owners of new homes spent 65 cents per square foot per year.
For homes with piped gas, homeowners spent on average 53 cents per square foot per year. Owners of new homes spent 38 cents per square foot per year.
These data highlight that a new home offers savings over the life of ownership due to reduced operating costs. This is one of the many reasons that the current system of appraisals needs updating to reflect the flow of benefits that come from features in a new home.