Do large-scale wind projects impact the sales prices of nearby homes? New US study results say yes and no.

December 7, 2023

New Berkeley Lab study of half a million transactions across the country finds evidence of temporary decreases in home sale prices in more populous counties within 1 mile of wind projects, starting after the project's announcement but returning to pre-announcement inflation-adjusted levels 3–5 years after operation begins.

The construction of onshore wind energy projects can be linked to several possible local economic impacts, including job creation, tax revenue, local landowner income, and changes to home sale prices, to name a few. Many of these economic impacts remain understudied. Home sale prices near wind projects have been the subject of previous studies, which did not find widespread, statistically observable impacts in the US. This study updates the previous analyses by reviewing 500,000 home sales within five miles of US wind projects and focusing on the time before, during, and after project construction.

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s new analysis, “Commercial Wind Turbines and Residential Home Values: New Evidence from the Universe of Land-Based Wind Projects in the United States,” compiles a unique dataset that includes home transactions across 34 states and 428 unique wind projects occurring between 2005 and 2020. The dataset spans the period 4 years before significant activity began in the project area, referred to as “announcement,” to more than 6 years after the project began operating. This allows an unprecedented examination of impacts on sales prices through the full wind project development cycle.

The study, published in Energy Policy in open-access format, is available here. The authors will host a webinar covering the study results on Wednesday, December 13, at 3 PM Eastern / 12 PM Pacific. Register here:

Some key takeaways from the study are:

  • Home sale prices that are affected begin after the “announcement” of the project, decrease during construction, and begin to return to pre-announcement levels after operation begins.
    • For homes within 1 mile of a wind project compared to homes 3-5 miles away, we found an average reduction in home sale prices of approximately 11%. Weak or no effects appear beyond that distance.
    • Effects for projects within approximately 1 mile away begin an average of three years before construction starts on the project, with home prices continuing to decline through project construction.
    • Home prices return to inflation-adjusted pre-announcement levels three to five years after project operation commences.

Figure 1. Estimated coefficients from a stacked difference-in-difference event study specification for homes within 1 mile of the nearest wind turbine, compared to prices for homes 3 to 5 miles away from the nearest turbine. The dotted red line denotes the year before the announcement of a wind project, and the dotted green line denotes the start of construction. The thin vertical blue lines denote the 95% confidence interval, whereas the thicker vertical blue lines denote the 90% confidence interval.

  • Adverse effects are not evident within a half mile nor outside of 1.25 miles of the nearest turbine. Within a half mile of the nearest turbine, there are fewer sales. If property value impacts exist within that distance, they were too small and/or too infrequent to result in any widespread, statistically observable impact within the study model.  
  • Impacts are apparent in more populous counties. When the sample is split into counties with greater or less than 250,000 people, statistically significant effects are only found in the more populous counties. Impacts are not apparent in home prices near projects in more rural counties, i.e., those with fewer than 250,000 people. 

Although this work significantly advances the literature, using the most comprehensive dataset assembled to date, it has some important caveats: This study did not compare home values in wind communities to communities without wind, nor did it examine the impact of other economic effects such as increased local tax revenue and worker income that might increase home prices across communities with wind development. We hope to examine those in future iterations of this work.

We thank the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office for their support of this work and the numerous individuals and organizations who generously provided data and reviewed our study.