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Putting the wind up house owners

This week the government confirmed what many have long suspected, that wind farms reduce a property’s selling price.

The revelation came following the Valuation Office Agency’s down-grading of council tax bands for several homes after they dived in value following the arrival of turbines nearby.

Although just five cases have been officially revealed, these suggest that a wind farm decreases house prices by 20 per cent, or makes them difficult to sell.

Wind turbines are not the only problem to blight a property’s value. Noisy neighbours are top of the list and, according to a recent Halifax survey, 17 per cent of homeowners experience this problem, which the bank says reduce a property’s value by up to £31,000, on average.

Following closely on the heels of noisy neighbours is the performance of local schools. A top-ranking secondary school adds 42 per cent on average to the price of a home within its catchment area, according to PrimeLocation.com. Poorly-performing schools have a corresponding downward effect on prices.

Another big faux-pas is to alter your home substantially without official planning approval. Although this may have few consequences immediately, any unauthorised extensions or conversions will render the house unsellable when it goes on the market, or will require a huge price reduction.

Floods, which have ravaged large swathes of the UK recently, also reduce property values. Homes built on flood planes will struggle to get flood insurance these days. As the average flood damage bill totals between £20,000 and £50,000, selling it will be a problem, unless you drop the price radically. To find out if a property is on a flood plain, go to http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/.

Crime also reduces prices, particularly after the government began publishing crime maps online at www.police.uk , which show, quite clearly, the crime hotspots within a postcode.

Research by the London School of Economics in 2004 revealed that a 10 per cent reduction in crime locally adds 1.7 per cent to a property’s value, or £2,700 on average. Logic suggests that a corresponding increase in crime would have the reverse effect on property values.

Lastly, there is one problem that, thankfully, few homes suffer from – infamy. Properties where murders and other off-putting events have taken place are very difficult to sell, particularly if their history is well documented on the internet.

Beware such addresses before you buy. Selling them could be, literally, a nightmare.