Construction of a wind farm can cut the value of your home; but only if it is visible and nearby.
Those are the conclusions of a study by Professor Stephen Gibbons of the London School of Economics who presented his findings to a meeting of the Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN) at Glasgow University last week.
The study examined changes in house prices following the construction of wind farms in England and Wales. You can see a PDF of the full academic paper here.
Professor Gibbons concluded that the value of residential property within 2km of a wind farm following construction (and where the turbines are visible) fell by 5-6%. The larger the wind farm, the greater the effect. In the case of properties close to a wind farm with 20 or more turbines, the impact on the property value was just over 12%.
But the effect fell away rapidly with distance. Properties between 2-4km of a wind farm saw an average reduction in price of just 1.5%. Even the presence of larger wind farms at that distance cut prices by no more than 5% and the presence of a wind farm had virtually no impact on properties over 8km away.
Moreover, properties close to wind farms – even those less than 2km away – saw no reduction in value when the turbines themselves were not visible. In fact, houses close to wind farms where you can’t see the turbines from the property itself are marginally more valuable than equivalent homes in areas without a wind farm – although no-one knows exactly why.
The higher price of properties where the wind turbines are not visible suggests that buyers would be willing to pay £600 a year to avoid looking at them. Overall, the study concluded that the implied compensation local communities would need to take account of the effect of constructing a wind farm would be £14 million per farm.
These studies are notoriously difficult given the low density of housing in rural areas where wind turbines tend to be located and controversial given the rapid growth in wind farms in recent years. Glasgow University is expected to carry out a similar study in Scotland and we’ll see if their study comes to a different conclusion.
But if you have worried that a wind farm near you might affect the value and saleability of your home, you could have a point – as long as you live very close to where it will be located and you can see the turbines from your home.