The National Association of Realtors has created a resource area called Field Guide to Power Lines. Part of the problem with this issue is that there has been a battle of competing health studies that of course, are on the opposite side of the sprectrum.
Position: Power lines don’t affect property values
This party claims that since there is no definitive proof of a health risk, no loss in value should occur to property owners. The key driver of this movement has been the powerline industry.[Links]
[American Transmission Co.](http://www.atcllc.com/TP_gardnermorgan_faq.shtml#question_answer_9)[American Trails](http://www.americantrails.org/resources/ManageMaintain/PowerLineBC.html) From an operational perspective, EMF is not much of an issue for trail activities…[Colgate Univ Term Paper](http://classes.colgate.edu/wpeck/fsem039/Power.html) Just a term paper and not a scientific study but it concludes that there is more evidence that says there are limited health risks and on that basis, possibly not detrimental to value.
Position: Power lines affect property values
This party claims that since there is evidence that there is a health risk, a loss in value to property owners should be recognized. The key driver of this movement has been the environmental groups.[Links]
[University of Missouri-Kansas School of Law](http://dirt.umkc.edu/dds/dd97/dd072597.htm) A review of a case where “…that a tax assessor’s opinion that the proposed power line would not change the assessed value of the property for tax purposes was incompetent and prejudicial…”
Wave-Group An exerpt of the correspondence: “Late last year, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that the owner of property adjacent to a utility’s high-power electrical transmission lines could seek damages for a decrease in the market value of the property caused by the fear that the power lines might cause cancer, even if such a fear was not medically or scientifically reasonable. That decision has already begun to change the outlook on electromagnetic field (EMF) litigation for utilities.”
Valuation Links[Power Lines and Property Values: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly](http://www.powerlinefacts.com/Property%20Values/Power_Lines_and_Property_Values.htm) An incredibly detailed discussion on valuation approaches for powerline properties.[Realty Times Columns](http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20030710_electro.htm) Concludes that homeowners would probably pay less for a property near a powerline just because of the uncertainty.
Common Sense Application for Appraisers
In a valuation matter, where an appraiser is asked to value the effect of power lines on property values, wouldn’t it come down to how the typical homebuyer in a market felt about the uncertainty of risk? In other words, if two properties are identical, but one is located under or near a powerline and one is not and the former sells for less, isn’t that indicative of the effect on value? Whether or not EMF causes cancer or not, if a buyer pays less, it would seem to me that the difference before and after is a quantifiable measure of effect.
What do you think?