Answer: It Depends on the Buyer ” and the House*

It may be a surprise to people who associate Minnesota with year-round Arctic cold, but summers here ” while admittedly not long ” can be hot and VERY sticky.

Hence the locals’ preference for central air conditioning.

Which raises the question: if a home lacks central a/c, how much do you discount for that?

“It All Depends”

Unfortunately, it’s hard to come up with an exact number; amongst other reasons, it’s often the case that homes that lack central a/c may also have other dated features (such as old windows, mechanicals, etc.), making it hard to isolate ” and price ” just that one variable.

The most I can confidently say is that the discount is necessarily within a range, and it mostly depends on two things.

One. The Buyer.

For some Buyers, no central a/c is a deal breaker ” no “if’s, and’s, or but’s.”

When that’s the case, in theory the discount is infinite (or at least, the cost and hassle for the Buyer to install it, post-closing).

Which leads directly to . . .

Two. The cost to install central a/c.

In turn, that depends on whether the home has existing ductwork ” the case if there’s a forced air furnace ” or ductwork needs to be installed as well (if the home has a boiler and radiators).

Bigger homes = more ductwork = higher cost (and the reverse).

Ductless A/C

Fortunately, there’s an intermediate, less costly solution than installing ductwork.

Called “ductless air conditioning” (natch), it consists of installing 2-3 a/c units at intervals on the home’s exterior.

In practice, ductless a/c functions much like window units, but it’s permanent and more effective (one drawback: the units and associated wiring aren’t very aesthetic, which is why they’re usually located on the side of the home or in back).

Factoring in all of the above, what’s the likely discount for no central a/c?

I’d say anywhere from $6k- $8k to more than triple that.

P.S.: In the Twin Cities, homes near the airport that have been “MAC’d” ” remediated for noise ” often have ductless a/c.

*In addition to “the Buyer” and “the house,” I should probably add one more variable as well: the neighborhood.

In parts of town where the housing stock is older (Longfellow, by Lake Nokomis, etc.), central a/c is less common ” and its absence is not as deeply discounted.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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