Pylons have even greater price effect than dumps
CONCERNS about the location of pylons and wind farms are impacting on the recovering property market in rural areas, auctioneers claim.
Homebuyers are trying to avoid purchasing houses near the likely locations for the hotly-contested infrastructure.
The development comes as Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte has admitted his own failure to explain the separate nature of the pylon and wind farm projects has contributed to the ongoing controversy.
One auctioneer noted there is a "complete stand-off" in the market.
"Being located beside a possible pylon site is now worse than being located beside a dump," the auctioneer said.
One of the central arguments from opponents of pylons is they are the thin end of a wedge, which will see the country being covered by a spiderweb of wind farms.
In an interview with the Sunday Independent, Mr Rabbitte said: "I seem to have singularly failed to communicate the fact that if there is a wind export project it is entirely separate from the pylons row."
The minister gave a commitment the building out of a pylon network is to meet "our domestic needs".
Mr Rabbitte, though, was also critical of the failure of EirGrid to win over the consent of communities affected by the company's proposals.
"EirGrid is a very highly regarded, technically competent, professionally insightful delivery agency. The quality of the engagement by EirGrid has attracted criticism from all sides of the House and I can't ignore that fact," he said.
The head of a top midlands auctioneering firm told the Sunday Independent homebuyers are avoiding houses which may be in the pylon zone. Hume Auctioneers' John Dunne said: "The big issue house purchasers are now raising is where are the pylons. Auctioneers across the country are hearing the same questions, pylons and wind farms are as big an issue in house purchases as schools and transport."
The auctioneer's points were confirmed by others in the industry.
"Concerns about pylons and wind farms are freezing the market in certain areas, people believe buying a house near pylons and wind farms is like turkeys voting for Christmas.
"In terms of freezing the market, pylons have had a similar effect to Michael McDowell's promise to abolish stamp duty. Buying a house in certain areas is now an absolute no-no."
It's likely to be further exacerbated by the publication of by a new report by the London School of Economics, which reveals the presence of wind farms can reduce property values by as much as 11 per cent.
The report examined over one million sales of property close to wind farms over a 12-year period.
Significantly, the LSE report reveals the full impact of wind farms on house prices may even be higher.
The author, Professor Stephen Gibbons, noted the consistent pattern when it comes to wind farms is that "property prices are going up in places where they're not visible and down where they are".
The report has been circulated to TDs and senators by the anti-wind farm association, Spin.