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Should have installed central air!

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis August 23, 2013 08:53 AM

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I'm kicking myself this morning after reading this Wall Street Journal piece on the higher resale value of homes with central air.

No, it's not just a Florida thing, with the average listing price of homes across the Northeast with central air about 50 percent higher than those stuck with bulky window units.

The average listing price for a house with central air in the Northeast is $359,900, compared to $239,900 for homes without, the piece notes, citing Refin numbers.

I guess Karen and I blew it when we renovated and expanded our Natick fixer-upper back in 2008/2009. While we put in a new, gas fired heating system, we balked as spending another $10,000 or $11,000 for central air conditioning as well.

Believe me, I think about it every time there is a heat wave, which has been quite often this summer. There is nothing I hate more than lugging around cumbersome window units - right now I have four of them in our various upstairs bedrooms.

OK, Maybe I wouldn't care so much if I were commuting to an air conditioned office every day, but my summers are spent in my home office, with my ugly, noisy window unit as my constant companion.

When the phone rings, my hand quickly hits the power button. That's all well and fine unless the interview drags on. Then it starts to get hotter by the minute.

Still, I guess I feel slightly better knowing that I am in the majority - just 36 percent of homes in Northeast have central air. And while it gets hot in the summer time, it goes fast - we have about one more month, if we are lucky, of fair weather before it turns chilly again.

The vast majority of Midwestern and Southern homes now have central air, with just under half of Westerners also free from the tyranny of noisy, ugly, bulky - you name it - window unit, according to the Redfin numbers.

All that said, the resale numbers are probably skewed by other factors. New homes are much more likely to come with central air than older homes, and, as we all know, new construction carries a premium in a state like Massachusetts, where little new gets built.

What's your take? Are you looking for a house with central air? Does anyone really need it in New England?

And yes, the comments section, after going down for a about a week, is back up again, so fire away! Go ahead, tell me I am a spoiled weather wimp, if that's what you think, I don't care.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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