In a weird way, wind turbines are taking us back to the days when Archie Bunker-attitudes were prevalent and white homeowners feared that the arrival of colored folks would send real estate values plummeting. You know: There goes the neighborhood! Only now it’s not race but big spinny things that are getting some people worked up.
A survey of research into wind turbines’ effects on home values by the National Association of Realtors last year seemed to find little evidence of a big impact, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-wind power forces from trying to whip up fears of values going into the toilet. Typically – as in this story – they point to small-scale studies of questionable methodology.
Into this morass comes a new Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analysis of data from 27 counties across nine states, taking in 50,000 sales within 10 miles of 67 wind farms and nearly 1,200 sales within a mile of turbines. The verdict: stop your worrying.
Here’s the money shot from the researchers, a collection of scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, San Diego State University and Texas A&M University:
We find no statistical evidence that home values near turbines were affected in the post-construction or post-announcement/pre-construction periods. Previous research on potentially analogous disamenities (e.g., high-voltage transmission lines, roads) suggests that the property-value effect of wind turbines is likely to be small, on average, if it is present at all, potentially helping to explain why no evidence of an effect was found in the present research.
Not convinced? The researcher go on to say, “The core results of our analysis consistently show no sizable statistically significant impact of wind turbines on nearby property values.”
Based on that, it looks like in U.S. at least, the idea of wind turbines ruining the resale value of large swaths of housing is about as scientifically valid as wind turbine syndrome.
Oh, and by the way: this, one kid’s opinion of wind turbines near her home.
“A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States” is available online as a 58-page PDF.