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If You Want to Sell a Home, Put Gas Stove in the Listing
Most Americans cook using electric ranges, yet many see gas as a premium feature
By Veronica Dagher, WSJ
Updated Jan. 23, 2023 11:25 am ET
On the question of which type of stove is best for your open house, real-estate agents say there is a clear winner: Gas fuels home sales.
Home buyers prefer gas ranges because they say food cooked over flames heats more evenly and tastes better than when done on a traditional electric stove, said Damien Rance, a Realtor in Weehawken, N.J. A gas range may slightly boost a home’s value, especially if the stove’s overhead exhaust vents, said Realtors from across the country.
“Gas is still seen as a premium offering in homes,” said Mark Barnes, a Realtor in Charleston, S.C.
The gas versus electric stove debate reignited this month after federal regulators said they were considering restrictions on gas ranges. “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” Richard Trumka Jr., a commissioner with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission told Bloomberg News on Jan. 9. A White House spokesman later said President Biden didn’t support a ban on gas stoves.
A 2022 Stanford study published in Environmental Science & Technology estimated that methane leaking from stoves inside U.S. homes has the same climate impact as about 500,000 gasoline-powered cars. The same study found that stoves can expose households to respiratory disease-triggering pollutants.
Cities including San Francisco, Seattle and Denver have either enacted or proposed measures to ban or discourage the use of fossil fuel in new homes and buildings, with the goal of reducing carbon emissions. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently proposed to ban the use of fossil fuels for heating and in appliances for certain new buildings by 2025. Numerous states, including Texas and Ohio, have passed legislation to prevent cities from imposing bans on natural gas.
The debate doesn’t seem to have moved the needle for home buyers: Fifty-one percent of home buyers prefer gas for cooking, compared with 39% who prefer electric, according to a 2021 survey by the National Association of Home Builders. The rest said they had no preference or didn’t know.
Carolyn Meyer, 37, is currently searching for a new home in Omaha, Neb., and said she would never buy a home with an electric cooktop that couldn’t be converted to gas.
“Not being able to have a gas stove is a deal breaker,” she said. Ms. Meyer said the gas cooktop has a more responsive heat control, essential for skillet cooking. She has made everything from shrimp and grits, to homemade meatballs and marinated pork chops with fig glaze on the gas range in her current home.
Even without any new regulations, most Americans own electric stoves. Sixty-eight percent of U.S. households have electric stoves, according to the Energy Information Administration. Coastal states including California and New Jersey have among the highest rates of gas stove use, the EIA said.
Traditional electric ranges are generally slightly cheaper, according to home-services company Angi Inc. Once installed, however, gas stoves are a bit cheaper to run, said Angie Hicks, chief customer officer at Angi.
Proponents of electric stoves say tastes in appliances are likely to change as more Americans get to cook on modern electric induction stoves.
Unlike the older electric coil or flat-top stoves, induction isn’t slow to heat and cool, terrible to clean and dangerous because of the hot surface area as its predecessors were, said Rachelle Boucher, a professional chef and senior lead at Building Decarbonization Coalition, a nonprofit seeking to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in buildings.
Induction stovetops are significantly more expensive, averaging $3,000 and up, according to Angi, the home-services company. Rebates up to $840 may be available to some home chefs who convert to electric under the Inflation Reduction Act later this year.
Home buyers are facing high prices and interest rates this year along with scarce inventory. They aren’t likely to walk away from a home they want to purchase because it doesn’t have a gas stove, Realtors say. Sales of previously owned homes, which make up most of the housing market, slid 17.8% in 2022 from a year earlier to 5.03 million, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.
Many home shoppers will have to give up their desire for a gas stove when they buy an apartment in a new building, said Cindy Scholz, a Realtor in New York City and East Hampton, N.Y. Developers building from the ground up tend to use induction cooktops, she said.
Not all buyers are set on gas. Anna Leigh Peek, 31, isn’t happy about the gas stove in her new home in Atlanta. Ms. Peek may eventually swap out the stove for an electric one as she isn’t accustomed to cooking with gas and is worried about a possible gas leak.
“A gas stove scares me,” she said.
Write to Veronica Dagher at Veronica.Dagher@wsj.com