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Wind farms have no negative impact on property values, says US study

There is no “widespread, statistically observable” impact of wind turbines on the sale of homes in the United States, concludes the most comprehensive analysis from the Department of Energy (DoE).

More than 30 GW of wind capacity is installed across the USA and an increasing number of communities are considering new wind farms, says the report The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States: A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis produced by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The report is the most comprehensive and data-rich analysis on the subject in the USA or abroad.

There is “an urgent need to empirically investigate typical community concerns” about wind energy and provide a common base of knowledge for stakeholders involved in the wind project siting process. This report evaluates the concern over claims that wind turbines hurt property values, and concludes that proximity to wind energy facilities does not have a pervasive or widespread adverse effect on the property values of nearby homes.

Researchers collected data on 7500 sales of single-family homes situated within 10 miles of 24 existing wind power facilities in 9 different states, for the period between 1996 and 2007. The analysis used 8 hedonic pricing models (a statistical analysis method used to estimate the impact of house characteristics on sales prices), as well as both repeat sales and sales volume models.

None of the 8 models uncovered any conclusive evidence of the existence of any widespread property value effects that might be present in communities surrounding wind farms. Specifically, neither the view of wind turbines nor the distance of homes to turbines was found to have any consistent, measurable or significant effect on the selling prices of the homes.

“Though the analysis cannot dismiss the possibility that individual homes or small numbers of homes have been negatively impacted, it finds that if these impacts do exist, they are either too small and/or too infrequent to result in any widespread, statistically observable effect,” the report notes.

“No matter how we looked at the data, the same result kept coming back - no evidence of widespread impacts,” says report co-author Ben Hoen. It took three years to collect the data and analyse 50 different statistical model specifications.

The analysis revealed that the sales price of homes is very sensitive to the overall quality of the scenic vista from a property, but that a view of a wind farm did not demonstrably impact sales prices. The researchers did not find statistically observable differences in prices for homes located closer to wind farms than those located further away, or for homes that sold after the announcement or construction of a wind farm when compared to homes selling prior to an announcement. Even for homes located within one mile of a wind turbine, there was no persuasive evidence of an impact on property value.

“Although studies that have investigated residential sales prices near conventional power plants, high voltage transmission lines, and roads have found some property value impacts, the same cannot be said for wind energy facilities, at least given our sample of transactions,” adds co-author Mark Thayer.

Berkeley Lab is a DoE national laboratory located in California.  It conducts unclassified scientific research for DoE’s Office of Science and is managed by the University of California.

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