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Effect of proposed wind farm on value of rural property

RAAB & RAAB [2012] FMCAfam 1189; 9 November 2012

1. These are property proceedings in which the major issue is the valuation of three blocks of rural land owned by the parties in the [E] area, on which they operated a farming business. The parties have agreed to sell two of the blocks. The husband would like to retain the third block and continue living in the former matrimonial home which the parties built on it. He would also like to continue operating the farming business.

2. Determining the value of the land is complicated by the fact that a wind farm is proposed to be built close to the western edge of the property. There has been vigorous opposition to the wind farm project by the parties and others in the area. The expert valuation of the three blocks of land varies significantly depending on whether or not it is assumed the proposed wind farm will go ahead. …

54. The impact of the proposed wind farm is apparent from the valuation report. Mr S valued the property on the basis that the wind farm would not proceed and on the basis that it would. He also assessed the value on the basis of all three properties being sold together and on the basis them being sold individually. He ascribed a value of $4.44 million to the three properties sold together in the event the wind farm did not proceed and $3.55 million if it did – a drop in value of $890,000. The individual values in each scenario are set out in the following table:

No wind farm

Wind farm

Eastern Block

$1,080,000

$  970,000

Corner Block

$1,310,000

$  850,000

Southern Block (with residence)

$2,250,000

$1,680,000

Three blocks sold together

$4,440,000

$3,550,000

55. The wife was not satisfied with the valuations by Mr S and engaged another certified practising valuer, Mr D, to carry out the same exercise. His report was prepared a year after that of Mr S. Mr D’s report dated 22 February 2012 is annexed to his affidavit filed on 27 February 2012.

56. Notwithstanding the gap of 12 months between the valuations of Mr S and Mr D, both valuers used sales data for seven properties sold between May 2009 and September 2010 because of the lack of comparable sales in the area since then. They had two properties in common.

57. Mr D assessed the market value of all three properties sold together as being $3 million dollars in the event the wind farm did not proceed and $2.475 million if it did – a drop in value of $525,000. His individual assessments in each scenario are set out in the following table:

No wind farm

Wind farm

Eastern Block

$  620,000

$  500,000

Corner Block

$  830,000

$  550,000

Southern Block (with residence)

$1,750,000

$1,475,000

Three blocks sold together

$3,000,000

$2,475,000

91. Both valuers agreed that the proposed wind farm is likely to have a greater deleterious impact on the value of “lifestyle” properties such as the southern block than on land intended only for agricultural use.

Download original document: “Raab & Raab [2012] FMCAfam 1189 [1]