A new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory looked at over 50,000 home sales near wind generation facilities across the United States in a study of how proximity to large turbines might impact home sales values. Their findings – there are no detectable effects on the value of a home near a wind facility. These findings aren’t surprising. They actually support a 2009 study that found the same thing.
The lead author of the new report, Ben Hoen, is a researcher in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Berkeley Lab. Hoen said that the study used data from before the development of the facilities was announced through recent sales in 2013. This allowed them to account for any pre-existing differences in sales prices across the sample set. It also accounted for the readjustment due to the housing bubble of 2008.
This is the most comprehensive study of this type to date and reinforces the findings of several other academic research studies on the subject. The reason that this study is so important, according to Hoen, is that, “Although there have been claims of significant property value impacts near operating wind turbines that regularly surface in the press or in local communities, strong evidence to support those claims has failed to materialize in all of the major U.S. studies conducted thus far.”
What About Studies that Support the Idea that Home Values Are Lowered?
This is a huge victory for wind power advocates. The problem is that naysayers are still vocal even with the absence of any tangible evidence in support of their stance. Not so quick, the detractors say. They quote studies done in the UK in 2007 by Dr. Amanda Harry. She found that not only did living near the turbines affect housing prices, they also affected the quality of life. And, a decision by the Council of Tax Appeals in Lincolnshire agreed to reduce the tax rate and valuation of a property due to the proximity to a large turbine.
Maybe this shows a cultural bias. Both of the negative correlations are from the UK and several studies in the U.S. show the exact opposite reaction. The difference seems to be in how the turbines affect the economy. In the U.S. new turbines bring in hefty local taxes. These taxes are pumped into the local services. That means better schools, better fire departments, more police officers and a better overall community. These are exactly the assets that drive housing prices up. Perhaps the home prices would go down if it wasn’t for these increases.
Whether it really is a difference in cultures or if it is due to the community enhancements that the taxes from wind farms generate, the fact is that home prices do not suffer in America.
Would you expect to pay less for a house if it was within eyesight of a large wind farm? If so, why?