Energy Insights & Savings

New Study Reveals Wind Farms’ Impact on Nearby Property Values: Good or Bad?

For years, wind energy critics have maintained that such projects decrease nearby property values, a claim wind energy companies dispute due to lack of substantial evidence. However, a recent study by one of our national labs analyzing 500,000 housing sale transactions located within five miles of a wind energy project sets the record straight. First important finding: homes located more than 2 miles away are unaffected.

Second important finding: in rural communities (counties with less than 250K residents) there was no impact on property values. Third important finding: after construction of the projects the approximate 2% decrease in property values within 1 mile of the wind turbines are temporary, returning to par value with properties further away within a nine years.

According to Ben Hoen, a co-author of the paper and a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the study overlooks the potential financial advantages associated with wind farms, which could benefit all homes in the vicinity. This includes the possibility of new revenue streams for local governments and educational institutions. For numerous residents living within a mile of a wind farm, these perks might surpass the temporary dip in property values.

Hoen also points out in the paper negative effects of wind turbines are more prevalent in urban areas than rural areas: because of the lack of space urbanites have. “…one of the theories out there that’s been supported by other research is that individuals that are in those urban fringe areas value the landscape differently than people in more rural areas. They might value all the open space because there isn’t as much of it. They might place more value on the views from their homes than individuals that are in a working rural environment,” said Hoen to Inside Climate News

Hoen has contributed to other research on this topic, such as leveraging increasingly extensive data sets to assess property values as additional projects are completed and more time elapses. His latest study analyzes approximately 500,000 property sales within five miles of 428 wind farms across the United States. 

“It’s extremely important for them to have good information on which to make those decisions,” Hoen said to Inside Climate News. His ultimate goal is to provide information for communities to make informed decisions and answer questions regarding growing wind farm projects.