A new study answers a long-nagging question of whether property values will decline due to nearby wind energy development. The answer is no, according to a report released by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy: "The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States: A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis."
"Neither the view of wind energy facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities was found to have any consistent, measurable, and significant effect on the selling prices of nearby homes,"
—Ben Hoen, report authorA overwhelming majority of Americans support wind farm projects over other types of new power sources that might be built in their community [U.S. Saint Index© survey]. However, concerns over property values can arise when residents learn of plans for nearby wind farm projects. While such concerns are not unreasonable, given property value effects that have been found near high voltage transmission lines, landfills, and other electric generation facilities; the impacts of wind energy facilities on nearby home sales had not previously been investigated thoroughly.
"Neither the view of wind energy facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities was found to have any consistent, measurable, and significant effect on the selling prices of nearby homes," says report author Ben Hoen, a consultant to Berkeley Lab. "No matter how we looked at the data, the same result kept coming back - no evidence of widespread impacts."
The report concludes that there are no measurable impacts on residential property values due to the three characterizations studied:
- Area Stigma: A concern that the general area surrounding a wind energy facility will appear more developed, which may adversely affect home values in the local community regardless of whether any individual home has a view of the wind turbines.
- Scenic Vista Stigma: A concern that a home may be devalued because of the view of a wind energy facility, and the potential impact of that view on an otherwise scenic vista.
- Nuisance Stigma: A concern that factors that may occur in close proximity to wind turbines, such as sound and shadow flicker, will have a unique adverse influence on home values.
The team of researchers for the project collected data on almost 7,500 sales of single-family homes situated within 10 miles of 24 existing wind facilities in nine different U.S. states, and that occurred between 1996 and 2007; the closest home was 800 feet from a wind facility. The conclusions of the study are drawn from eight different hedonic pricing models, as well as both repeat sales and sales volume models. The hedonic pricing model is one of the most prominent and reliable methods for identifying the marginal impacts of different housing and community characteristics on residential property values.