Proximity to wind turbines has no effect on home values, according to an independent study released Thursday and commissioned by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
Professors at the University of Connecticut and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analyzed more than 122,000 housing transactions in Massachusetts between 1998 and 2012 near current or planned turbines.
They found that wind turbines do not affect nearby home prices, nor do they affect the rate at which a home sells.
If anything, the study found that proximity to wind turbines results in a very slight positive impact on home prices, but the authors said the impact is so small it is “statistically insignificant.”
“Obviously not everybody likes (turbines), but there are enough people who either don’t mind them or who think they are quite positive to make the market work,” said Carol Atkinson-Palombo, one of the study’s authors.
Instead, home prices were much more affected if houses were located near the beach, which helped prices, or if they were located near landfills or high-voltage power lines, which had a negative impact on housing prices.
While proximity to existing turbines had almost no effect on home sales, the study did find a slightly negative effect on home prices in areas where a turbine project had been announced but not yet constructed. According to the study, those affects went away after turbine operation began at those sites.
“We call that an announcement affect,” Atkinson-Palombo explained. “When a community is told there will be a project but doesn’t know much about it yet, that is the period of maximum uncertainty.”
Though previous studies of wind turbines’ effects on housing prices have had similar findings, Alicia Barton of the MassCEC said her organization commissioned the study to look specifically in Massachusetts.
“This is a question that does come up a lot both from town officials and residents,” she said. “We wanted to help communities wrestling with this question.”
This latest study is not the first to find no correlation between wind turbines and decreases in home values, but it is the largest. Previous studies on the subject examined at most 22,000 home transactions. They also looked at housing prices in areas that were more rural and not as densely populated as where Massachusetts’ turbines are sited.
Though the study was commissioned by MassCEC, Barton stressed that the researchers acted independently. The review has also gone through the academic peer-review process that verifies research.
“This study gets at only one aspect of what is a complicated issue around citing wind energy projects,” Barton said. “There are obviously other concerns, but this study can put the ones about property values to rest.”
Kenneth Pottel, who opposes the two wind turbines in Fairhaven, said the study did little to convince him. He noted that there are homes on Weeden Road, in view of the turbines, that have been on the market for more than a year.
“I wouldn’t want to buy a house near a turbine,” he said.
Dan Freitas of Friends of Fairhaven Wind said the study just went to bolster what he and other turbine supporters have been saying all along.
“There is no correlation between turbines and housing values or health effects or anything else,” he said. “It’s just another claim that opponents make that we can prove is not true.”
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