From The Desk of Jim & Pat..
We are often asked about additions to a property that may or may not add value, or how much value can be created by the installation of a swimming pool or new kitchen cabinets? Consumers and REALTORS ® tend to readily understand how physical additions to a property create value, however, the less known and often complicated components of value are items called ‘stigma’. An emerging example of stigma is ‘wind turbines’ as evidenced in the following article that appeared in ’For the Record’, a publication by the Real Estate Council of Ontario.
Alternate energy sources like wind farms continue to grow in popularity as society searches for sustainable, clean and low cost energy solutions. They also provide a source of income to property owners, making them an attractive investment; but the evolution of the wind farm in Ontario has not been without controversy. Drive by any stretch of rural road bordering the farms and you’ll see signs in opposition to the tall wind turbines, as well as those asking for support for wind farmers. So then, it’s reasonable to assume that the purchase or sale of a property housing a wind farm or one in the nearby vicinity of one could lead to many questions and potential issues.
The argument of whether wind farms have a negative impact on surrounding property values is as controversial as the tall turbines themselves.
A three-year study by the U.S Department of Energy released in 2009 reported that, “neither the view of wind energy facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities was found to have any consistent, measurable, and significant effect on the selling prices of nearby homes. No matter how we looked at the data, the same result kept coming back with no evidence of widespread impacts.
A subsequent peer reviewed U.S. study published in 2010 found that while there was a negative impact on neighbouring property values in the initial planning and building stages of a wind farm, it seemed to be a ‘stigma effect’ as in the long term, the property values rebounded. (Hinman, J.L. Wind farm proximity and property values, 2010)
Closer to home, it seems to be a different story. In 2007 the Brampton Real Estate Board looked at both property values and the number of days on the market of about 600 properties within a five kilometer distance from Ontario’s largest wind farm in the Melancthon-Amaranth area. They found that properties within five kilometers of the wind farms were selling for less money and took longer to sell than comparable properties outside the five kilometer radius.
Aware of the stigma impact, the board conducted another study in 2010, this time looking at 900 properties and was surprised to find that there was still a negative impact on both the property value and the number of days it took for homes near the wind farm to sell.
A timely note to this article was highlighted in a recent CTV interview with Anne Murray. Ms. Murray is leading a group opposing the development of a wind farm in her home region of Nova Scotia claiming it will negatively impact the area’s tourism industry. Whether her group will halt this development remains to be seen but the sentiment of the area’s residents seems to align with those in Ontario.
This is just one example of ‘stigma’ that we deal with during the Purchase and Sale transaction. In future newsletters we will take a look at other forms of stigma that we have dealt with over the years such as controversial neighbourhood developments, marijuana grow-ops and ghosts. Yes – haunted houses!
We would be interested in hearing about any “stigma” that you or someone you know may have encountered in your real estate experiences. Call 519-744-6777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org