3D Electric powerlines over sunrise Adobe Stock / TebNad

In a study of 5,455 vacant lots sold between 2000 and 2016 in Pickens County, S.C., College of Charleston assistant professors Chris Mothorpe and David Wyman found that vacant lots next to high-voltage transmission towers sold for 45% less than equivalent lots not located near transmission lines. Non-adjacent lots within 1,000 feet of a transmission line sold at a discount of 18%.

While a number of studies show that the proximity of power lines to a built home lowers its real-estate value, the Mothorpe and Wyman’s focus on vacant land eliminates the influence of a built structure on those values. Assuming land represents 20% of the overall value of a home, the authors estimate that a 45% decrease in land values equates roughly to a 9% drop in total property value.

Prof. Mothorpe suggests three main factors driving the discount: health concerns associated with proximity to high-voltage lines (though, as the authors note, researchers have not established solid links between proximity to power lines and health issues); the unattractive views; and, for properties very close to the lines, the humming sound they produce.

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