Should homebuyers purchase a property near power lines?

May 29th, 2014

Although there is less evidence to suggests health problems are caused by owning a home near power lines, these properties can have their value affected by the stigma.

Consumers have many stigmas when purchasing homes, such as buying a home where a murder happened is unsafe or owning a manufactured home indicates lower socioeconomic status.

Properties near power lines have their own stigma, which perpetuates the idea that such homes present a health risk. This is believed to such an extent that research has even been conducted to determine the validity of the claims. Citing a 2006 report from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Zillow reported that the data more often points to no noticeable effects for both overall health and DNA damage specifically.

Even so, there is still fear associated with the risk of miscarriages, cancer birth defects and abnormal heart rhythms, all of which Zillow said have not been conclusively shown by research to be present. For cancer in particular, even the studies that have found some correlation between power lines and home location hasn’t determined criteria for what proximity or exposure level are necessary for noticeable effects to occur.

In regard to electric and magnetic fields, local power companies can be contacted to get a reading and determine if the power lines near a property pose an issue.

Considering property value
Of course, the main concern for some homebuyers isn’t always their own time spent in the home. Many are ready to cast off stigmas and superstitions, but they need to ensure that the home will maintain its resale value.

Even with research noting that concerns regarding the health risks of owning a home near power lines are not yet substantiated, widespread media sensation on the matter has made some buyers hesitant. This lowers a property’s perceived value. Whether a buyer’s concerns are health problems or lost value, reservations are often a sign that this type of property may not be the best choice.

“As soon as they get out of the car, they’ll tell [their agent], ‘Um, no thank you,’” Daniel Kim, a Long Beach, California, real estate agent, told Zillow. “If you are going to worry every time you look up at the power lines and hear some crackling, then I’d say pass on the property and buy somewhere else.”

Kim also said that peace of mind has more weight than resale value. While this may not ring true for some buyers who are more focused on equity, they have to consider their future buyers’ sentiment before closing on a home near power lines.