Wind farm “monsters bad for Ontario: Realtors shoot back at property value study
Jennifer Paterson, Canadian Real Estate Wealth, December 18, 2014
A recent study by the University of Guelph, which found wind turbines do not have an impact on nearby property values, might have earned a big sigh of relief from investors – but the study’s results have been strongly criticized by members of the real estate industry.
“I have had several deals fall apart in this area because, in the appraisal report, it has been mentioned that there are windmills visible or adjacent to the property and, once a lender gets wind of that (forgive the pun), they will not fund a mortgage,” said Angela Jenkins, a mortgage agent at Dominion Lending Centres, who lives and works in the Melancthon region, where the study was conducted.
“If a person cannot get financing due to windmills, then how can this be a positive thing?”
The study, which was published this month in the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, analyzed more than 7,000 home and farm sales in the area, and found that at least 1,000 of these were sold more than once, some several times.*
John Leonard Goodwin, who has been a real estate broker for more than 10 years in the Grand Bend, Ont. market, asserted that wind turbines absolutely do affect property values. “Turbines complicate your property enjoyment, period,” he said. “That alone spells depreciated value(s).
“Turbines should be in remote, unpopulated locations. To all the folks who have turbines on their property: Enjoy your $18,000 per turbine per year, because you will be giving most of the lease payments back (in much lower property value) when you sell.
“These monsters are very bad for Ontario,” he continued. “We all pay to subsidize the electricity they produce and they will also cause a significant loss of real estate value.”
Lynn Stein, a sales representative at Hartford and Stein Real Estate, lives and sells real estate in Prince Edward County, where a large-scale wind turbine project is slated to begin.
“The turbines that are proposed here are quite large,” she said. “The majority of the population here very clearly doesn’t want them.
“Put simply, if you were to buy your future home, given the choice, would you buy where you would have noise, shadow flicker, an industrial view, potential health issues caused by the turbines, and the possibility of a very difficult resale, or would you spend your money elsewhere?”
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*Editor’s note— The writer is incorrect: Vine had a data set of 5,414 residences but very few, 124, were within 5 km of a turbine. Several were as far as 50 km from a turbine. This is a tactic designed to “dilute” any actual effect. Author Richard Vyn himself said that the limitations of this study (sponsored by MPAC, perhaps to buttress their own disastrous study on this issue earlier this year) were significant and should not be overlooked. Toward the end of his paper he admits, “…while the results indicate a general lack of significantly negative effects across properties examined in this study, this does not preclude any negative effects occurring on individual properties.”
The Realtors and financing professionals contacted for this article also did not note that Vyn failed to include expired listings, i.e., properties that were listed for sale, but never sold.