A Joliet-area homebuilder says homebuyers’ tastes have changed and that new home sales for the past couple of months have been a “breath of fresh air,” at least for his company.

Buyers, seemingly in a once-bitten, twice-shy mode when it comes to real estate in the current economy, are moving away from so-called McMansions they wanted before the recession — seeking the most square footage for their money — and instead are thinking green, according to John Major, co-owner of Joliet’s CORE Homes.

“The cost-conscious consumer of today has changed,” said Major, of Mokena.

“Energy-efficiency is the No. 1 thing people look for when they walk through the door,” he said.

Price remains a factor, but CORE said with many green features coming standard in sub-$200,000 houses, it has sold more than 20 in the past two months.

The sales increase is helping on the jobs front, too, according to Shawn Speiss of Frankfort’s Speiss Construction.

“We’re finally back to a full employment from five years ago,” Speiss said.