Generators a must-have among affluent home buyers in Houston 

Homes with generators have tripled since 2018 due to natural disaster prevalence

Generators a Must-Have in Houston’s Luxury Housing Market

Killowattage has become the sought-after amenity among affluent home buyers in Houston.

The region is vulnerable to natural disasters, such as the recent deadly wind storms, and heavy-duty home generators are a major selling point in the metro’s luxury housing market, the Houston Chronicle reported

The number of luxury homes sold with generators increased 600 percent from 2018 to 2023, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. Home buyers spending over $1 million began clamoring for generator installations after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Overall, the number of homes sold with generators has tripled since 2018.

“During COVID, we had so many people moving to Houston from other states, and they had heard about Harvey, and every time they wanted to know, ‘Is there a generator?’” Dee Dee Guggenheim Howes, a luxury real estate broker for Compass, told the outlet. “They really were concerned about the natural disasters.”

The demand spiked further after the 2021 Texas freeze, which caused widespread power outages and severe cold, resulting in over 200 deaths.

In the aftermath of the May 16 derecho in Houston, home mechanicals firms like John Moore Services have been overwhelmed with calls from homeowners eager to secure their power supply ahead of hurricane season. 

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Whole-home generators, unlike portable ones, can power an entire house automatically and are typically fueled by gas lines, making them a reliable backup during power outages. However, these generators come with a hefty price tag, ranging from $13,000 to $40,000, depending on their capacity and convenience of use.

Generators are becoming as essential as pools or elevators for luxury home buyers, real estate agents say. Houston homebuilder Charles Chapman now includes at least a 48-kilowatt whole-home generator in all speculative mansions he builds. 

The expense is seen as a tradeoff to the buyer.

“It’s very much a convenience tax, do you want to have to leave your house or sit in it when it’s 90 degrees and worry about all the groceries and all the expensive stuff, or do you want to go about your life as normal?” said Greg Gilbert of Mackey Services, a Dickinson mechanicals company serving the Houston region.,” said Greg Gilbert of mechanicals firm Mackey Services.  

—Quinn Donoghue 

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