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Wind farms blow down sale prices

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 or even impossible to sell.

But 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 home owners 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, says PrimeLocation.com, and therefore a poorly-performing school has 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, when a home goes on the market any unauthorised extensions or conversions will render the house unsaleable, or require a huge price reduction to shift it.

Floods, which have ravaged large swathes of the UK recently, also reduce property values. Homes built on a flood plane will struggle to get flood insurance these days, so, because 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/.

But another type of deluge, 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, so beware such addresses before you buy – selling them could be, literally, a nightmare.