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Wind farms and property values

There is disagreement between wind farm supporters and opponents on whether a nearby wind farm will adversely affect land values, especially residentual land values.

What are the facts?

In a few words, property prices can drop slightly for a time when a new wind farm is proposed (anticipation stigma) and may be depressed during construction but there seems to be no convincing evidence that there is any long-term fall in values.

Created as a separate page 2014/01/10, modified 2016/07/01
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David Clarke) – ©
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Median prices for Cape Bridgewater/Cape Nelson – wind farm commissioned 2008/09
Median prices
 
Median prices for Challicum Hills – wind farm commissioned 2003
Median prices
 
Median prices for Codrington – wind farm commissioned 2001
Median prices
 
Median prices for Toora – wind farm commissioned 2002
Median prices
 
Median prices for Waubra – wind farm commissioned 2009
Median prices
 
Median prices for Wonthaggi – wind farm commissioned 2005
Median prices
 
Median prices for Yambuk – wind farm commissioned 2007
Median prices
One of the most common claims of those who are opposed to wind farm developments is that wind farm construction causes declines in property values in the vicinity. There is no good evidence that this is generally true; a number of studies around the world indicate that wind farms have no, or very little, effect on the values of nearby homes and land. However, there have been isolated decisions indicating some declines in land values in some places. (The Fairview case in Canada is interesting.)

The graphs on the right were created using data from propertyvalue.com.au by Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber (see here). Each is in an area where a wind farm has been built. The graphs clearly show that there are no long-term declines in land values associated with wind farms. I have produced similar graphs from South Australian property values (using realestate.com.au), but as they all show the same trend as Greg's graphs it seems superflous to display them here.

Australian studies

There have been few property value studies near Australian wind farms, but the NSW Valuer General commissioned one in August 2009 which is useful:
"This study investigated eight wind farms across varying land uses (rural, rural residential, residential) using conventional property valuation analysis. Two wind farms were selected in NSW and six in Victoria. The main finding was that the wind farms do not appear to have negatively affected property values in most cases. Forty of the 45 sales investigated did not show any reductions in value. Five properties were found to have lower than expected sale prices (based on a statistical analysis)."
 
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The report went on to say that "No reductions in sale price were evident for rural properties or residential properties located in nearby townships with views of the wind farm", however "no firm conclusions" could be drawn in the case of lifestyle properties. (The report can be accessed here.)

In the Australian case and concerning the land on which the turbines are built, turbines are usually on the tops of hills where the land is too steep to crop, so no cropping land is usually lost. Animals, both wild and domestic, quickly get used to turbines and will happily graze right under them. The value of a property is dependent on its earning potential and having turbines on a property greatly increases earning potential. The licensing fee normally paid by turbine operators to land owners is typically at least $10 000 (around 2012). (See also elsewhere). So fairly obviously values of land having turbines on it are likely to increase.

Waubra

The Waubra Wind Farm is one of the Australian projects to receive a lot of news coverage, at least partly because of the misleadingly named Waubra Foundation. Council records show rising land values in the Waubra part of the Shire.

In the Ballarat hearing of the Senate inquiry into the impact of wind farms (2011/03/28) Councillor David Clark of the Pyrenees Shire Council said:

"We did a revaluation in early 2010, so six months after Waubra wind farm was operating. We did not see an effect on commercial agricultural land. It had moved up and our belief is there were other factors driving the price of that. We did not see an effect on the nearby township of Waubra. Prices again had moved up in the case of that township, which is about 1.2 to 1.5 kilometres away."

Two years later, in the Pyrenees Shire Council Meeting Minutes, General Revaluation of Properties, 2012; of ten areas listed under 'Residentual Properties' Waubra shows the largest rise, 10.1%. The average change of the remaining nine areas was a rise of 2.9%. The valuations are done every two years.

The Clean Energy Council provides a fact sheet on wind farms and land values.
 
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Federal Magistrate Kate Hughes' decision

In a curious decision in Victoria Magistrate Kate Hughes made a ruling devaluing a property by 17% due to a nearby wind farm. (Article in The Australian.)

Ms Hughes seems only to have considered evidence from two land valuers, 'Raab and Raab'. She seems not to have considered any of the highly-credible studies listed on this page.


Overseas studies

Overseas studies generally indicate negligible adverse effect of wind farms on land values.

CleanTechnica summarised statistically reliable and some other studies in various countries. By far the majority of the reliable studies showed no negative impact on the values of properties near wind farms.

Canadian studies

University of Guelph

 
This paper has been criticised because a relatively small number of sales (79) were within 5km of turbines.
A study by Richard Vyn and Ryan McCullough was released on 2014/12/08. It involved more than 7000 home and farm sales in Ontario and found that "wind turbine developments have no effect on property values". The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Municipal Property Assessment Corporation

A report by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation in 2012 stated:
"The 2012 CVA [Current Value Assessment] study also found that there is no statistically significant impact on sale prices of residential properties in these market areas resulting from proximity to an IWT [Industrial Wind Turbines].
Wikipedia states that "The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, or MPAC, administers property assessments and appeals of assessment in the Province of Ontario."


 
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United Kingdom studies

Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR)

The Guardian (2014/03/29) reported that the CEBR had completed a study of 82 000 property prices within 5km of wind turbines over two decades and found no negative impact. The research was commissioned by RenewablesUK.

UK Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC)

A report by Stephen Gibbons of the London School of Economics and Spatial Economics Research Centre released in April 2014 found that house prices could decline by up to 12% where wind turbines were visible.

UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)

An article in Renewable Energy Magazine reported that the UK ASA had "banned the distribution of leaflets claiming that wind farms can depress house prices". "The ASA decided that it was indeed misleading to state that house prices will fall when the wind farm is built."

Centre for Sustainable Energy

The UK Centre for Sustainable Energy published a document Common concerns about wind power that included a section on "Wind turbines and property prices". It spoke of an "anticipation stigma" regarding adverse effects on land prices that exists during the planning and construction of wind farms, but said that "a great deal of research in the UK and abroad shows that there is no devaluation in property prices nearby once a wind farm is operating".

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

The UK Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) summarised a number of surveys under their 'Frequently asked questions' – 'Do wind farms affect property values?' They stated that "There is no difinitive answer to this question".


USA studies

 
Summary of Amenity, Disamenity and Turbine Home Price Impacts
Graph credit Uni. Connecticut, Berkeley Lab.
Property values
The graph shows the impacts of various landscape features on home prices; things like nearby landfills cause significant declines in values; a beach causes an increase in value; a nearby wind turbine has no significant impact.

University of Connecticut/Berkeley, 2014

A joint report titled Relationship Between Wind Turbines and Residential Property Values in Massachusetts by Carol Atkinson-Palombo of the University of Connecticut and Ben Hoen of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was released on 2014/01/09.

The study concerned "current of future locations of 41 turbines in densely populated Massachusetts communities"

The results are summarised in the graph on the right.

The Executive Summary stated:

"... this report analyzed more than 122,000 home sales, between 1998 and 2012, that occurred near the current or future location of 41 turbines in densely-populated Massachusetts communities. The results of this study do not support the claim that wind turbines affect nearby home prices."

Berkeley Laboratory, 2013

The US Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analyzed more than 50 000 home sales near 67 wind facilities in 27 counties across nine US states, yet was unable to uncover any impacts to nearby home property values. Reported in Into The Wind, 2013/08/26. The article, by John Anderson, went on:
"This is the second of two major studies we have conducted on this topic [the first was published in 2009 – download the 2009 LBNL Report], and in both studies [using two different datasets] we find no statistical evidence that operating wind turbines have had any measureable impact on home sales prices," says Ben Hoen, the lead author of the new report.

US Department of Energy

For example, the US Department of Energy did a $500k study that concluded that there was no evidence property values near wind farms were "consistently, measurably, and significantly affected by either the view of wind facilities or the distance of the home to those facilities." A Lawrence Berkeley press release quoted the study's author, consultant Ben Hoen, "Neither the view of wind energy facilities nor the distance of the homes to those facilities was found to have any consistent, measurable, and significant effect on the selling prices of nearby homes." (The above paragraph was adapted from an article in Powerblog by Kennedy Maize.)

Magnusson, M. and Gittell, R., 2012

Impact of the Lempster Wind Power Project on Local Residential Property Values. Whittemore School of Business & Economics, University of New Hampshire. The "study found no evidence that the [Lempster Wind Power] Project has had a consistent statistically significant impact on property values within the Lempster region". (Download pdf)

Hinman, Jennifer L., 2010

Wind Farm Proximity and Property Values: A Pooled Hedonic Regression Analysis of Property Values in Central Illinois. May 2010. Hinman stated: "This study finds some evidence that supports wind farm anticipation stigma theory and the results strongly reject the existence of wind farm area stigma theory". In common English I take that to mean that while property values can fall in anticipation of a wind farm being built, no evidence was found of a fall in property values when the wind farm was in place. (Download pdf)

Renewable Energy Policy Project

The Renewable Energy Policy Project reported on a massive survey titled "The Effect of Wind Development on Local Property Values" in May 2003. The report stated that: "Although there is some variation in the three Cases studied, the results point to the same conclusion: the statistical evidence does not support a contention that property values within the view shed of wind developments suffer or perform poorer than in a comparable region."

Berkeley Laboratory 2009

A study named "The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the US", published by the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and dated December 2009 stated:
"The present research 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. The conclusions of the study are drawn from eight different hedonic pricing models, as well as both repeat sales and sales volume models. The various analyses are strongly consistent in that none of the models uncovers conclusive evidence of the existence of any widespread property value impacts that might be present in communities surrounding wind energy facilities. Specifically, neither the view of the wind facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities is found to have any consistent, measurable, and statistically significant effect on home sales prices."

Lang, University of Rhode Island

The GoLocalProv News reported on a study conducted by Corey Lang, University of Rhode Island assistant professor of natural resources and economics. Professor Lang analysed the sale prices of 48 000 homes in Rhode Island over a 15 year period and found that when wind turbines were nearby they may cause a 0.4 percent drop in property prices (which was well within the study's margin of error). Professor Lang said:
"One of the reasons that wind turbines are so contentious in Rhode Island is that our population density is high and there are so many houses all around turbine sites. That worries people. However, that density provides me with much more data than other studies have had access to."

El Paso County Assessor reports property values increasing in wind farm area

"El Paso County Assessor Steve Schleiker reported to the Board of County Commissioners this week that data collected by his Office shows that properties in the wind farm area are not only selling but sales prices are continuing to rise. Schleiker provided the update during the regularly scheduled June 21 Commissioners meeting.

The wind farm is located in an area encompassing roughly 30,000 acres east and south of the town of Calhan in eastern El Paso County. The Office of the Assessor has been tracking real property sales in the wind farm area and extending along the transmission lines and across a two-mile buffer zone.

Sales from January of 2015 through April 2016 reflect increasing values in almost all categories. Values were up on 44 agricultural-grazing sales; 931 single-family residential sales; and 79 sales of vacant land."
For more information see the El Paso County article.


 
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General

At least some people in the real estate business believe that land values decline in the vicinity of wind farms. This is interesting, in that it is contrary to studies such as those mentioned above. It may be associated with the "anticipation stigma" also mentioned above.

Self-fulfilling prophecy?

A study on the effect that heavy negativity about a proposed wind farm had on land values could be useful and informative. While the presence of a wind farm might not reduce land values, a group of people persistently claiming impending disaster might well do.

This might well be why land prices do sometimes fall a little, temperarily, when a wind farm is proposed and during construction.

Informative link

Mike Barnard wrote a summary of studies of the effect of wind farms on property values on Quora. In general he found evidence of some short-term, but no long-term, decreases in the values of properties near wind farms.


Contrary evidence

Worldwide there have been several court cases in which a judge decided that land values had been depreciated by nearby wind farms.

The Reardon study

The Financial Review on 2013/10/14 published a piece on registered land valuer Peter Reardon who produced a report stating that land values can fall by 30% or even 60% due to nearby wind farms.

What was the study based on? Three sales of properties near wind farms, one of which showed no change in value (by comparison, the US Connecticut/Berkeley study looked at 122 000 sales and found no adverse effect, and the graphs near the top of this page cover hundreds of sales and show rising prices).

How did Mr Reardon choose the properties he looked at and what other factors might have been involved in the prices? He did not say.

Since writing this piece I have had information from the owner of one of the three properties and from another land agent in the area. I have discussed this 'study' at greater length in on a dedicated page. I believe that this 'study', as reported, has no scientific value or statistical significance and may well be heavily biased. (Also see Renew Economy)

Grasping at straws

Not surprisingly this report has been spread around by those who oppose wind power. Confirmed wind power opponent and Australian Federal Parliamentarian Angus Taylor has used this study, while ignoring all the much larger and much more credible studies discussed above, in his efforts to discredit wind power. Also see Misleading the public, below.


Misleading the public

The fact that anti-wind power groups such as Stop These Things, Wind Action , HeartlandFarmers and Wind Watch and individuals such as Angus Taylor have used Peter Reardon's thoroughly discredited study of land values demonstrates how desparate they are to find 'evidence' supporting their claims of wind farms adversely impacting property values. For example, a quote from Wind Watch:
"... Peter Reardon provides sales evidence that proves that wind farms do impact property values."
What this proves, if anything, is the very low standards of credibility required in the 'evidence' acceptable to Wind Watch.

If there were credible studies showing declines in land values near wind farms opposition groups would be referring to those. In fact I know of no such studies.

The Reardon study has been useful and valuable in showing the desperation of the anti-wind lobby and how they are willing to publicise anything, no matter how incredible (in the true sense of the word) it is.



Index

Australian studies
Canadian studies
Contrary evidence
General
Magistrate Kate Hughes' decision
Misleading the public
Overseas studies
Reardon study
UK studies
USA studies
Waubra
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