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Factors That Can Hurt Home Value

April 26, 2017

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Most of us are aware of the effect that certain environmental facets of a home and its surroundings can have on our health. Government agencies and businesses everywhere have made huge strides toward combating air pollution in cities, for example, since smoke and engine exhaust are known to be harmful to humans and the environment. But there is another form of pollution that is invisible yet perhaps equally harmful: noise.

“Local noise could be a nuisance as well as a detriment to home values.”

Environmental noise, even if it’s as typical as the sounds of a busy city, can have surprising, detrimental effects on health, according to a growing body of research. Reuters reported that, based on recent studies from public health experts, urban noise could be contributing to as much as $3 billion per year in extra health care costs in the U.S. This is due to the well-known effects of noise that many would consider little more than an annoyance – car horns, busy sidewalks, commuter trains. Research cited by Reuters estimated that 46.2 million Americans are exposed to daily noise that could lead to a 17 percent higher chance of chronic conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Perhaps this research makes it more clear why homes in louder areas tend to be assessed at lower values compared to nearby properties. According to an article from Realtor.com, even seemingly innocuous neighborhood features could be the cause of significant reductions in appraised value or listing price. Some of the more surprising discounts for noise disturbances include:

  • Places of worship: Believe it or not, living near a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious institution with weekly attendance of 2,000 people or more could reduce surrounding property value by 5.2 percent. This effect could be demonstrated from as far as a half-mile radius from the building itself.
  • 24-hour supermarket: While certainly convenient, 24-hour markets reduce nearby home prices by 5.1 percent on average, according to Realtor.com’s research. This effect only applies within a 0.1 mile radius.

Emergency services: Living close to a hospital emergency room or fire station could lead to a major price reduction. A hospital with an ER was found to slash home prices by 7.6 percent on average, while fire stations imparted a more modest 1.8 percent reduction.

Believe it or not, living near a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious institution with weekly attendance of 2,000 people or more could reduce surrounding property value by 5.2 percent.

Neighborhood noise: Deal or no deal?

Of course, there are two sides to the noise pollution coin. Reduced home values are certainly unwanted from an owner’s perspective, but buyers looking for the best possible deal might see the discount as a bonus. And if they can put up with the extra noise, these neighborhood features can be considered a convenience rather than a nuisance.

Some of the more common (and more costly) sources of environmental noise:

  • Airports: As perhaps the most undesirable neighborhood feature of the bunch, it’s not surprising that living within two miles of an airport could impart a 13.2 percent reduction in a home’s value.
  • Railways: Nearby train tracks reduce home values by 12.3 percent on average.
  • Highway or busy road: An 11.3 percent and 9.5 percent discount, respectively.
  • School: Living within one-tenth of a mile of a school might reduce a home’s value by 4.3 percent compared to similar properties, but this could just as easily lead to higher values in certain instances.

For those looking at buying a home, these areas might be a good place to start if a tight budget is a top concern. However, it’s still important to understand beforehand how nearby facilities might impact future home value, not to mention how they could affect the mindset of homeowners who are light sleepers.

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