Cell Towers and Our Real Estate Values

Although recent email blasts from Kathryn Lonergan state “Federal Law prohibits a town regulatory organization from turning down a cell tower for concerns over health effects”, there is growing documentation that even the perception of health effects does push down real estate values.

  • Online Articles: (1) Phone Masts (Cell Towers) Blight House Sales; (2) Pushback Against Cell Towers
  • The Bond and Hue – Proximate Impact Study
    The Bond and Hue study conducted in 2004 involved the analysis of 9,514 residential home sales in 10 suburbs. The study reflected that close proximity to a Cell Tower reduced price by 15% on average.
  • The Bond and Wang – Transaction Based Market Study
    The Bond and Wang study involved the analysis of 4,283 residential home sales in 4 suburbs between 1984 and 2002. The study reflected that close proximity to a Cell Tower reduced price between 20.7% and 21%.
  • The Bond and Beamish – Opinion Survey Study
    The Bond and Beamish study involved surveying whether people who lived within 100′ of a tower would have to reduce the sales price of their home. 38% said they would reduce the price by more than 20%, 38% said they would reduce the price by only 1%-9%, and 24% said they would reduce their sale price by 10%-19%.
  • United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a denial of a Cell Tower application based upon testimony of residents and a real estate broker, that the Tower would reduce the values of property which were in close proximity to the Tower.
  • The Appraisal Institute,
    the largest global professional organization for appraisers says, ‘A cell tower should, in fact, cause a decease in home value.’

Thinking through how this might affect an our school system, what if the health effects do cause learning problems? What if our school rankings suffer as a result? What if these health effects begin to steer the best educators to other school systems because – all other factors being equal – they’d rather not take the chance of health effects? If the quality of our school system is intimately linked to the desirability of the Dover and Sherborn communities, might this effect the real estate values of all of our homes?

Realtors have also weighed in:

  • “As a licensed real estate broker with over 30 years of experience, it is my professional opinion that the installation of a Cellular Tower can significantly reduce the value of neighboring residential properties.”
    Lawrence Oxman, Licensed Real Estate Broker
  • The California Association of Realtors
    “[S]ellers and licensees must disclose material facts that affect the value or desirability of the property,” including “known conditions outside of surrounding” it. That property values would be affected and the presence of a cell tower must be disclosed to potential buyers. “If you desire to sell your home, and you are legally bound to a disclosure statement which would include listing a cell tower in your area.”

Sherborn resident David Parrish adds “I am quite concerned with the current proposal to install a cell tower on the DS high school/middle school property. As a local builder in the Dover-Sherborn market I would say property values could certainly be impacted although it may take several years to materialize.  Why take a risk with the health of our children?”

Once erected, a closely sited cell tower will not move. This is a decision that will effect all of us – with children in the school system and those that do not for many years to come. We’d better be sure we are comfortable with all the implications of this decision down the road.

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One thought on “Cell Towers and Our Real Estate Values

  1. I for one am concerned and feel that the Dover Sherborn Regional School Committee has a duty to put off signing the Lease with Bay Communications and allow time to consider all the potential trickle-down effects of this transaction and whether the revenue they hope to gain from it is worth it.

    The ZBA meeting regarding the abutter’s property has been postponed at the Applicant (Bay Tower’s) request to Nov. 19 and the site walk has been postponed indefinitely. This should give the School Community more time.

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