Eclectic Homes

How Much Do Power Lines Lower Real Estate Value?

The presence of high-voltage power lines close to a home has long been a bane of real estate agents. Not only are most power lines unsightly and sometimes noisy, but also they can increase lots of safety issues among buyers related to the risk of electrocution and rumors that exposure to electromagnetic fields can cause a variety of ailments, including cancer. These drawbacks have translated into property values that were reduced .


According to a post in the analysis Journal, homes have a loss in value just when high-voltage power lines are obvious. Power lines that are noiseless and well-hidden often have little if any impact on real estate value. But, when power lines are evident, research reveal that a reduction in property value of between 1 percent and 10 percent.


A 1995 study by Stanley Hamilton and Gregory Schwann analyzed the effect of a closeness to high-voltage power lines on property prices. Employing a sample of over 12,000 homes, Hamilton and Schwann found that properties alongside a power line lost an average of 6.3 percent of the value.


According to the Appraisal Journal, the decrease in value declines as the distance between the home and the power line increases. Also, if the lines are partially obscured from view, the decrease is also found to be less severe. But if the perspective is entirely unobstructed, the purchase price of homes as far away as one-quarter of a mile can be impacted.

Expert Insight

Fifty-two of 54 property agents surveyed by the”Roanoke Times” in 1998 stated that high-voltage power lines reduced residential real estate values. But, property representatives noted that more expensive homes were likely to endure a large decrease in value compared with more economical possessions, a discrepancy they imputed to the selectivity of a more affluent clientele. “Cheaper property won’t be influenced as much, however, homes in exclusive areas will eliminate value,” said William Ward, the owner of a Roanoke property agency. “People who can afford to pay $200,000 for a home are not going to want to pay that much for a home close to a power line. Therefore it drives down the price.”


Although long rumored for a carcinogen, no credible scientific evidence that power lines cause cancer or another disease has been developed. A 1995 statement by the Council of the American Physical Society, a group of prominent physicists, stated that no study has yet shown a link between power line fields and cancer. A study by the National Research Council came to a similar decision. Wider proliferation of those findings might ease concerns about the lines’ potential adverse health consequences.

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