14 October 2013 — A newspaper article widely published in Fairfax Media today [Monday] purports that wind farms could reduce the value of adjoining property by up to 60 per cent. But the evidence is flimsy.
The article stated that an “independent report” performed by a property valuer established that “rural landholders across Australia may face a disappearing pool of buyers and plummeting values”.
The “detailed evidence” was based on a sample size of three property sales hand-picked by Goulburn-based property valuer Peter Reardon, the original article published in the Australian Financial Review said.
When asked about the sample size and methodology for selecting properties, Mr Reardon told The Fifth Estate the evidence for wind farms affecting property prices was “really thin on the ground” because of the relative newness of the wind farm industry, and that there was only limited data on sales of properties within two kilometres of wind farms. Though data, he said, was now coming through.
However, according to the Clean Energy Council, multiple studies have been performed locally and internationally “by respected and independent organisations”, and have consistently found no correlation between wind farm proximity and property prices.
“The value of properties goes up and down for a wide range of reasons,” the council said. “Supply and demand, proximity to amenities and infrastructure, housing affordability and the desirability of the location can all have an impact. If someone is having trouble selling their property and it is near a wind turbine, there could be many other reasons to explain why this is the case.”
A recent study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analysed over 50,000 home sales in the US and found no impact on sale prices.
See our article Study: wind turbines do not affect property price
A “preliminary assessment” by Preston Rowe Paterson for the NSW Valuer General, mentioned in passing by the AFR, also found that after looking at 45 house sales, no decrease in property price could be found.
“The main finding was that the wind farms do not appear to have negatively affected property values in most cases,” the report stated.
However, it noted that “the small samples of sales transactions available for analysis limited the extent to which conclusions could be drawn”.
Mr Reardon told The Fifth Estate that the two properties where there was a decrease in value of 33 per cent and 60 per cent (compared with comparative land sales) were small “lifestyle properties” with no houses built on them.
A larger 1200-acre property showed no decrease in value, he said.
In the Preston Rowe Paterson report there were also instances of lifestyle properties losing value, though these were “mixed and inconsistent”.
“There were some possible reductions in sale prices identified in some locations alongside properties whose values appeared not to have been affected,” the report stated. “Consequently, no firm conclusions can be drawn on lifestyle properties.”
Because Mr Reardon’s report, which was contracted by a farmer worried about the impact of a wind development on his land value, was performed “basically on a pro bono basis”, a copy was not immediately available, and could only be ordered in hardcopy for a fee of $550.