Cell Phone Towers Lower Property Values: Documentation And Research on Cellular Base Stations Near Homes
Cell Antennas Lower Property Values
Research indicates that over 90% of home buyers and renters are less interested in properties near cell towers and would pay less for a property in close vicinity to cellular antennas. Documentation of a price drop up to 20% is found in multiple surveys and published articles as listed below. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) considers cell towers as “Hazards and Nuisances.”
Once built. Cell towers can go up an additional 20 feet- without community consent.
Most people in the United States are unaware that once a tower is built, it can go up to 20 feet higher with no public process due to the passing of Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. In other words, a 100 foot tower can be increased to 120 feet after it is constructed and the community will have no input. Communities are largely unaware of this law.
The California Association of Realtors’ Property Sellers Questionnaire specifically “cell towers” listed on the disclosure form for sellers of real estate. The seller must note “neighborhood noise, nuisance or other problems from.. ” and includes cell towers and high voltage transmission lines on the long list problems. Click here to see the California Association of Realtors’ Property Sellers Questionnaire (p. 3-4 under K. Neighborhood)
Scroll down this page for resources on property de-valuation.
The realtor industry has written several articles documenting the property devaluation after communication towers are built near property.
National Association of REALTORS® Lists References including EHTs page on their Cell Towers Page . More at https://www.nar.realtor/cell-phone-towers#section-165807
The National Association of REALTORS® and other real estate organizations are urging the Federal Communications Commission to heed caution and ensure that its proposal to expand high-speed 5G networks nationwide doesn’t violate property owners’ rights.
A coalition of real estate groups, including NAR, the National Multifamily Housing Council, the National Apartment Association, and the Institute of Real Estate Management, among others, submitted a letter to the FCC expressing concern over its proposed rule regarding over-the-air reception devices. The coalition says the rule could make it easier for antennas and other devices to be placed on properties without the owners’ consent. The coalition flagged these two potential issues:
- The rule could allow residential or commercial tenants to install a 5G small cell or other wireless infrastructure on a balcony or within a leased space to boost individual coverage and also transmit a signal to other customers of the telecom provider.
- The rule could allow a telecom carrier who already leases rooftop space from a property owner (for antennas or other equipment) to be able to attach a 5G small cell or other wireless infrastructure on that existing equipment without having to change their agreement with the property owner.
5G is touted to be 100 times faster and five times more responsive than 4G and 4G LTE, the technology being used today on most smartphones and wireless devices.
- “The real estate associations strongly support the deployment of broadband infrastructure of all kinds because apartment residents, commercial tenants, and their customers need and want the service that the infrastructure supports,” the coalition wrote in its letter to the FCC. “With the rise of e-commerce, changes in how consumers access media, and our ever-increasing reliance on the Internet for basic functions, broadband connectivity is a top priority for the industry.”
- “The real estate associations believe strongly the marketplace is working, and so we urge the Commission to avoid measures that could prove counterproductive, and thereby harm investment, constrain competition, and limit consumer access to broadband service. We are also concerned that inopportune regulation could raise the cost of developing multifamily housing and commercial real estate.”
“Impact of Communication Towers and Equipment on Nearby Property Values” prepared by Burgoyne Appraisal Company, March 7, 2017
The Cost of Convenience: Estimating the Impact of Communication Antennas on Residential Property Values (Land Economics, Feb. 2016)
The Lo Down on Cell Towers, Neighborhood Values, and the Secretive Telecoms(link is external) (The Dissident Voice, Dec. 19, 2015)
Cell Towers: Not in My Back Yard (Tedium Blog, Aug. 5, 2015)
“Examining invisible urban pollution and its effect on real estate value in New York City” – by William Gati in New York Real Estate Journal September 2017
- “Understanding EMF values of business and residential locations is relatively new for the real estate industry. Cell phone towers bring extra tax revenue and better reception to a section of the city, but many are skeptical because of potential health risks and the impact on property values. Increasing numbers of people don’t want to live near cell towers. In some areas with new towers, property values have decreased by up to 20%.”
“Cell Tower Antennas Problematic for Buyers” published in REALTOR® Magazine:
- An overwhelming 94 percent of home buyers and renters surveyed by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (NISLAPP) say they are less interested and would pay less for a property located near a cell tower or antenna.
- The NISLAPP survey echoes the findings of a study by Sandy Bond of the New Zealand Property Institute and past president of the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society (PRRES). “The Impact of Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Residential Neighborhoods,” which was published in The Appraisal Journal in 2006, found that buyers would pay as much as 20 percent less for a property near a cell tower or antenna.
2014 Survey by the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy (NISLAPP) in Washington, D.C., “Neighborhood Cell Towers & Antennas—Do They Impact a Property’s Desirability?”
- Home buyers and renters are less interested in properties located near cell towers and antennas, as well as in properties where a cell tower or group of antennas are placed on top of or attached to a building. 94% said a nearby cell tower or group of antennas would negatively impact interest in a property or the price they would be willing to pay for it.
- Read the Press Release: Survey by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy
Best Best and Krieger Letter to Ms. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary Federal Communications Commission September 19, 2018 “RE” Smart Communities and Special Districts Coalition – Ex Parte Submission: Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WT Docket No. 17-79; Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WC Docket No. 17-84”
- “Further, the assumption that there is little to consider in a small cell application is belied by the definition the Commission adopts for “small wireless facility”: while it justifies its rules based on the assumption that many small cells are the size of a pizza box, a pizza box is about 1/2 cu. ft. in size, while the Commission proposes to expedite permitting of equipment cabinets 28 cu. ft. in size – a stack of 56 pizza boxes – on front lawns throughout the country. Considering that the Smart Communities’ prior filings show that the addition of facilities of this size diminish property values, it is strange for the Commission to assume that approval can be granted in the regulatory blink of an eye.”
- “A good example lies in the Commission’s discussion of undergrounding.62 The Commission at once appears to recognize that communities spend millions of dollars on undergrounding projects, and that allowing poles to go up in areas where poles have been take down has significant impacts on aesthetics (not to mention property values).”
New York Times: “A Pushback Against Cell Towers” August 2010
“If they have the opportunity to buy another home, they do.”
She said cell antennas and towers near homes affected property values, adding, “You can see a buyer’s dismay over the sight of a cell tower near a home just by their expression, even if they don’t say anything.”
“ Property dealers across the city say that buildings which host mobile phone towers have 10-20 % less market value.
“Forget buying these properties , people don’t want to take them on rent even, particularly when they have a choice. If a person is going to invest crores, why would he buy a property with a tower?” asks Pal. According to LK Thakkar, a Defence Colony-based property dealer, while the cost of the building which has the tower is relatively less, other buildings in the vicinity also get affected. “No one wants to buy a house within 100 metres of the building which has the tower. The rates for such properties drop by 10-20 %, and sometimes even more,” said Thakkar, co-owner of A-One Associates .”
“Do neighborhood cell towers impact property values?” Pennsylvania Association of Realtors,
- A recent survey by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (NISLAPP) found that 94 percent of homebuyers are “less interested and would pay less” for a property located near a cell tower or antenna.
“Appraiser: Cell Tower Will Affect Property Values” New Jersey Patch on T Mobile Cell Tower
- “Properties that are approximately close to the tower will suffer substantial degradation to their value based on the nature of the unusual feature in the residential neighborhood.”
STUDIES ON IMPACTS OF TOWERS
Sandy Bond, Ph.D., Ko-Kang Wang, “The Impact of Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Residential Neighborhoods,” The Appraisal Journal, Summer 2005; Source: Goliath business content website.
- “Overall, respondents would pay from 10%–19% less to over 20% less for a property if it were in close proximity to a CPBS.”
“Cellular Phone Towers: Perceived impact on residents and property values” University of Auckland, paper presented at the Ninth Pacific-Rim Real Estate Society Conference, Brisbane, Australia, January 19-22, 2003; Source: Pacific Rim Real Estate Society website,
The effect of distance to cell phone towers on house prices S Bond, Appraisal Journal, Fall 2007, Source, Appraisal Journal (Found on page 22) See also Using GIS to Measure the Impact of Distance to Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Florida
New Zealand Ministry for the Environment, “Appendix 5: The Impact of Cellphone Towers on Property Values” Source: New Zealand Ministry for the Environment website
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) considers cell towers as “Hazards and Nuisances.”
- HUD requires its certified appraisers to take the presence of nearby cell towers into consideration when determining the value of a single family residential property.
- HUD guidelines categorize cell towers with “hazards and nuisances.” HUD prohibits FHA underwriting of mortgages for homes that are within the engineered fall zone of a cell tower.
- “The appraiser must indicate whether the dwelling or related property improvements is located within the easement serving a high-voltage transmission line, radio/TV transmission tower, cell phone tower, microwave relay dish or tower, or satellite dish (radio, TV cable, etc).”
- Read it here at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Cell Towers are Discussed in the Written Testimony of Bobbi Borland Acting Branch Chief, HUD Santa Ana Homeownership Center Hearing before the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services on “The Impact of Overhead High Voltage Transmission Towers and Lines on Eligibility for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Insured Mortgage Programs” Saturday, April 14, 2012
- With regard to the new FHA originations, the guide provides that: “The appraiser must indicate whether the dwelling or related property improvements are located within the easement serving a high-voltage transmission line, radio/TV transmission tower, cell phone tower, microwave relay dish or tower, or satellite dish (radio, TV cable, etc).”
Once Built, Towers Could be Allowed to go 20 feet Taller
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Sec. 6409(a)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed and is currently considering rules to clarify and implement the requirements of Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Under section 6409(a), “a State or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station.” The FCC considers eligible facilities’ requests to include requests for carrier co-locations and for replacing existing antennas and ground equipment with larger antennas/equipment or more antennas/equipment.
The FCC has proposed, as part of these rules, applying a four-pronged test, which could lead to cell towers increasing in height by 20-plus feet beyond their approved construction heights.
Applying the test may also lead increases in the sizes of compounds, equipment cabinets and shelters, and hazardous materials used for back-up power supplies, beyond what was originally approved.
Under this test, a “substantial increase in the size of the tower” occurs if:
1) [t]he mounting of the proposed antenna on the tower would increase the existing height of the tower by more than 10%, or by the height of one additional antenna array with separation from the nearest existing antenna not to exceed twenty feet, whichever is greater, except that the mounting of the proposed antenna may exceed the size limits set forth in this paragraph if necessary to avoid interference with existing antennas; or
2) [t]he mounting of the proposed antenna would involve the installation of more than the standard number of new equipment cabinets for the technology involved, not to exceed four, or more than one new equipment shelter; or
3) [t]he mounting of the proposed antenna would involve adding an appurtenance to the body of the tower that would protrude from the edge of the tower more than twenty feet, or more than the width of the tower structure at the level of the appurtenance, whichever is greater, except that the mounting of the proposed antenna may exceed the size limits set forth in this paragraph if necessary to shelter the antenna from inclement weather or to connect the antenna to the tower via cable; or
4) [t]he mounting of the proposed antenna would involve excavation outside the current tower site, defined as the current boundaries of the leased or owned property surrounding the tower and any access or utility easements currently related to the site.