How much are wind turbines dragging down home values? A new study has surprising answers

Mar 18, 2024, 3:30 PM

Wind turbines tower above a home in Weatherford, Oklahoma, in April 2022. As wind energy expands in...

Wind turbines tower above a home in Weatherford, Oklahoma, in April 2022. As wind energy expands in the United States, concerns have grown about the potential for tall turbines to be a drag on property values. (Will Lanzoni/CNN via CNN Newsource)

(Will Lanzoni/CNN via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — As wind energy expands in the United States, concerns have grown about the potential for tall turbines to be a drag on property values.

But a new nationwide study that analyzed data from 300 million home sales and 60,000 wind turbines finds turbines’ impact on home values is much lower than previously thought – about a 1% drop on average for a home with at least one wind turbine within six miles.

The study’s authors find the most impact on home prices happens if a home is less than five miles from a turbine; the further a home is from a turbine, the less of a value hit it takes.

‘Diminishes and eventually disappears’

Even for homes close to a turbine, the study finds the negative impact to property value “diminishes and eventually disappears” within a decade.

To measure the impact, scientists set out with a very simple question, said Max Auffhammer, a study co-author and professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

“We really wanted to get at, can you see that thing from where your house is?” Auffhammer told CNN.

Getting the answer required building a massive mapping database of the distance between US homes and wind turbines, accounting for changes in topography and other factors.

“We calculated whether you can see the turbine – or whether there is a mountain in the way, for example – and if so, how the house value changes compared to other houses in the same area where residents cannot see the wind turbine,” Wei Guo, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the Italian Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, said in a statement.

The study also explored just how big wind turbines appear to the human eye. They found that, on average, a wind turbine five miles away appeared roughly the same size as an aspirin tablet held with an outstretched arm. If the same turbine were one mile away, it would appear the size of a golf ball.

Auffhammer said one of the study’s most interesting findings was most of the dips in housing value were driven by early wind turbine installations in the US at the end of the 1990s. Closer to 2020, “we don’t really find an effect,” Auffhammer added.

Homes near turbines

The number of people who live very short distances from a turbine is also very small – the study recorded fewer than 250,000 housing transactions within a mile of a wind turbine.

Much of the growth in wind turbines in the US has been on farmland in the Midwest, Great Plains states and Texas. In many cases, farmers lease their land out to utility companies and are paid for that space.

In Iowa – the nation’s second-largest producer of wind power and biggest wind energy consumer, many farmers view wind turbines as a source of stable income that can help shield them from the volatility of farming and yearly crop yields, Iowa Farmers Union board president Aaron Heley Lehman previously told CNN.

Auffhammer said he is hopeful the data can help farmers and homeowners make a calculated decision on whether lease payments are enough to help balance out a potential loss of value on their homes.

The study’s researchers said that recovery in value over time could suggest homeowners and prospective buyers are simply getting more comfortable with wind turbines, and the machines are starting to blend into the surrounding landscape in the same way electrical infrastructure does.

“The way I think about it is, the first piece of electric transmission infrastructure people probably were yelling, ‘what is this ugly tower with wires? It’s ruining the landscape,’ because you’re not used to it,” Auffhammer said. “Now when I drive down the highway, I don’t even notice transmission infrastructure anymore. I just got used to it. I think something similar here is happening to windmills.”

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Mike Johnson (R-LA) attends a news conference at Colum...

Haley Talbot, Lauren Fox and Clare Foran, CNN

Johnson calls on Columbia University president to resign during tense news conference

House Speaker Mike Johnson called on Columbia University’s president to resign Wednesday during a tense news conference.

8 hours ago

A Ford sign is shown at a dealership in Springfield, Pa., Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Ford is recallin...

Chris Isidore, CNN

Ford just reported a massive loss on every electric vehicle it sold

Ford’s electric vehicle unit reported that losses soared in the first quarter to $1.3 billion, or $132,000 for each of the 10,000 vehicles it sold in the first three months of the year, helping to drag down earnings for the company overall.

10 hours ago

Mandatory Credit:	Mario Anzuoni/Reuters via CNN Newsource
Dateline:	LOS ANGELES, February 04, 2024...

Lisa Respers France, CNN

Taylor Swift’s elementary school teachers remember her as a young star

Turns out Taylor Swift doesn’t just speak now when it comes to writing, but has long had a reputation for being fearless.

12 hours ago

A Planned Parenthood sign is seen at a facility in Austin, Texas, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. A federal ...

Jacques Billeaud and Jonathan J. Cooper, Associated Press

Arizona House advances a repeal of the state’s near-total abortion ban to the Senate

A proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total ban on abortions has won approval from the state House.

12 hours ago

The Biden administration issued final rules Wednesday to require airlines to automatically issue ca...

David Koenig, AP Airlines Writer

Airlines will now be required to give automatic cash refunds for canceled and delayed flights

The Biden administration is setting new rules on airline fees and refunds. The Transportation Department said Wednesday that the final rules will spell out exactly when consumers are owed a refund for a delayed flight.

14 hours ago

Congress finalized legislation on April 23 that could lead to a nationwide TikTok ban, escalating a...

Brian Fung, CNN

Biden just signed a potential TikTok ban into law. Here’s what happens next

President Joe Biden signed a bill Wednesday that could lead to a nationwide TikTok ban, escalating a massive threat to the company’s US operations.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

How much are wind turbines dragging down home values? A new study has surprising answers