Anyone who has bought or rented a home has been told about lead paint, radon, and maybe even asbestos, as well as other potential hazards in the home. But what about potential hazards brought about by technology? Many shirk away from homes that are close to power lines or cell towers because of health concerns; while some are repelled by the aesthetics. Regardless, there is some impact on your home’s value when in close proximity to power lines and cell towers proximity.
What is considered to be necessary for modern living, power lines and cell towers are fundamental to our lives. And although many are wary of the health effects from living nearby these devices; they will still have wi-fi, and a microwave oven in their home, and they probably also use a cell phone. All of which emit similar types of radiation.
According to the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org), the type of radiation emitted from power lines and cell towers are non-ionizing radiation, like the electronic devices mentioned above. Non-ionizing radiation does not remove particles from atoms, nor does it directly change DNA. Power lines emit ELF (extremely low frequency radiation), which is a lower energy radiation than visible light and infrared.
Cell towers, on the other hand, emit radiofrequency (RF) radiation that is between FM and microwaves. Although very high levels of RF can be damaging to body tissue, the American Cancer Society website states that cell phones and towers emit RF at much lower levels (of course, one should not stand next to a cell tower). More about power lines, cell towers, and health concerns can be obtained from the American Cancer Society website.
Findings of a 2005 study conducted by Bond & Wang (The Impact of Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Residential Neighborhoods. The Appraisal Journal. Summer 2005.) indicated that about 40% of the control group were concerned about health effects of living in close proximity to a cell tower; which compared to 13% of respondents already living nearby a cell tower. Nevertheless, both groups were highly concerned about future property values: 38% of the control group would lower asking price by as much as 20%; while almost two-thirds of the respondents living close to a cell tower would lower the home price by as much as 19%.
Roddewig & Brigden’s review of the research into property values surrounding power lines was enlightening (2014. Power Lines and Property Prices. Real Estate Issues, 39(2),15-33.). They stated that the appraisal industry does not automatically reduce prices just because of a property’s proximity to a power line, even though there has been history of concern over the environmental impacts. And caution home owners, buyers, and real estate professionals to not substitute opinion for analyses of actual home prices.
They concluded that if there is a price impact on a home’s value, it is a small reduction. They explained that “the real estate appraisal profession has been studying those prices since the 1960s. Some of the many published studies have found adverse impacts to property prices and values while others have found no impact or statistically insignificant impacts despite media attention given possible health effects of exposure to EMFs.”
Roddewig & Brigden also found that the long history of research suggests that negative impacts on property values from power lines can be limited by proper “land use planning and subdivision layout procedures.”
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX All Pro in Rockville, MD. You can access more information at www.DanKrell.com.