You probably saw in the news recently where President Trump claimed that “windmills” affect property values by 75%. Seeing as how determining impacts on property values is our specialty, particularly for unique properties and unique influences, we thought we’d shed some light on this issue.

Landscape picture with windmills

Wind Turbines on a Wind Farm

While it may seem petty, let’s first clarify the difference between a windmill and a wind turbine because we’d like to use the proper terminology throughout this post. A windmill is a smaller apparatus that converts wind energy for direct use on a given task (such as milling grain). A wind turbine, on the other hand, is much larger and converts the wind energy into electricity which can be put back into the grid. It is the latter that we believe President Trump was referring to in his statement because wind turbines are what comprise wind farms, and it is the wind farms that usually get the reputation for impairing property values.

Now let’s focus on why you’re really here – do wind turbines affect property values? The answer is in fact yes, depending on several conditions. However, a 75% diminution in value is a far cry from the true value impact. To understand the degree to which values are affected, we must first understand how they are affected.

  • Use & Enjoyment
    • Noise pollution is created by wind turbines, more particularly, groups of turbines at wind farms.
    • Shadows & flicker may impact nearby homes, depending on their proximity to the wind farm.
    • Health impacts may arise for nearby residents whose sleep is interrupted by the noise and light issues noted above. However, the long term effects are largely unknown, contrary to Trump’s claim that they cause cancer.
    • Impacts to view may be considered a disamenity to residents who experience limited overall visibility and/or a change from natural vistas to a more industrial view.
  • Stigma & Decreased Demand
    • The anticipation of adverse effects from wind farms has been noted in some studies to have more impact on value, than the effects of the wind farms themselves.
    • While all of the above may not deter every buyer or homeowner, the stigma of such issues alone can diminish the pool of potential buyers, thus causing some negative impact on the price of the property.

Among the studies we reviewed, the highest diminution we saw was 40% (nearly half of what the president suggests), and that was in circumstances where the wind turbine was located directly on the property. While that loss percentage was on the high end, most studies show that the losses in property value from wind farms in the United States is somewhere between 0% and 35%.