CHART OF THE DAY: Why Buying An Old Home Is A Bad Investment

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Just because the price of a home goes up, doesn’t mean it was a good investment.

Typically, homes undergo costly renovations to keep them up-to-par with newer homes, which employ the latest technologies to make them, among other things, more energy efficient.

“Housing traditionally is not viewed as a great investment,” said economist Robert Shiller in an interview with Bloomberg Television last week.  “It takes maintenance, it depreciates, it goes out of style. All of those are problems. And there’s technical progress in housing. So, new ones are better.”

New data from the Energy Information Association confirms that newer homes are indeed way more energy efficient than older homes.

“Analysis from EIA’s most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) shows that U.S. homes built in 2000 and later consume only 2% more energy on average than homes built prior to 2000, despite being on average 30% larger,” wrote the agency today.

“Homes built in the 2000s accounted for about 14% of all occupied housing units in 2009. These new homes consumed 21% less energy for space heating on average than older homes (see graph), which is mainly because of increased efficiency in the form of heating equipment and better building shells built to more demanding energy codes.

Sure, a homeowner could easily do the renovations to make their homes more efficient.  But that’s not free.

Here’s the energy consumption chart from the EIA:

Chart of the day shows energy consumption per households for 2009.

Photo: EIA

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