Study: Like In The Country, Wind Turbines Don’t Hurt Urban Home Values

January 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Researchers have found no evidence that wind turbines hurt home values, in a new study referred to as the first review of impacts on home sales in urban and suburban neighborhoods.

The study, performed by researchers at UConn and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, examined 122,000 home sales in Massachusetts over 14 years that were within five miles of wind turbines, the largest and most comprehensive dataset examined on the subject, according to researchers.

After controlling for a number of other variables that could sway the sales price, the researchers found a statistically insignificant 0.5 percent increase in the home values. The study also said homes near turbines were being put up for sale and sold about as often as they were in other areas.

“If turbines were really blighting these areas, you wouldn’t be able to give property away,” said the report’s lead author Carol Atkinson-Palombo, an assistant professor of geography at UConn whose specialty is sustainable cities.

The study comes as construction of wind turbines surged across the country due to lower equipment costs and state and federal incentives.

In Connecticut, though, state lawmakers have tempered their development by extending a multi-year moratorium on wind turbines. The last effort to end the moratorium, in September, failed after an alert from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities warned that new rules concerning turbines didn’t address the towns’ concerns on placement and management of the turbines.

The research, released Thursday, follows years of similar reports stating that although residents fear noise or turbine-blade flicker, those concerns don’t translate to lower home values.

“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 consistently failed to materialize in all of the major U.S. studies conducted so far,” said Ben Hoen, the report’s co-author and a researcher at the Berkeley Lab.

Since previous research focused on real estate in rural areas, the new study analyzed urban and suburban home sales and found similar results.

“It’s all based on people’s perception of what the environment should be used for,” Atkinson-Palombo said. “We didn’t understand how this might play out in a more urbanized environment.”

She said that further research on the subject could look into the types of people who are moving into these homes and their feelings about wind power.

“There’s something in other work that I have done where we find a self-selection process,” Atkinson-Palombo said. “In relation to transportation, some people don’t like being near light rail stations, for example. They worry about crime, while others want to be by them” because they value the commuting infrastructure.

The research was supported by the U.S Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The researchers will present their findings in April. A paper based on the report is being reviewed for publication in the Journal of Real Estate Research.

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