Fracking digs deep hole in house values by Jonathan Leake and Ellie Thomson, August 24, 2014, The Sunday Times
Fracking could be such a blight on homes near drilling sites that they will be placed into lower council tax bands, the government’s property valuation agency admits. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which sets the values of properties for council tax purposes, said any industrial or commercial development near homes, potentially including fracking sites, could reduce their value. [Emphasis added]
Fracking threat wiped £535,000 off my home’s value: Five-bedroom home now valued at £190,000 after drilling site was proposed nearby by James Tozer, August 24, 2014, The Daily Mail
The potentially massive impact of fracking on house prices was revealed yesterday – with one woman saying the value of her home has been cut by £535,000. In 2012, the property – which comes with two-and-a-half acres of land – was valued at £725,000. Dianne Westgarth said the price of her five-bedroom house on the Fylde peninsula in Lancashire – just 300 yards from a site where a drilling firm wants to start fracking – had dropped by 70 per cent
‘The new valuation came in at £190,000,’ she said. ‘Two other estate agents said they would rather not even comment, because the possibility of fracking meant they couldn’t actually say if it was worth anything at all.’
‘I’m directing all my efforts at ensuring the site near my home doesn’t get permission,’ she added. ‘Currently, my house is worth next to nothing.’
She spoke out as it emerged that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) – which values properties for council tax – had admitted that commercial activities such as fracking could cause their estimates to be downgraded.
‘Fracking is not widespread yet but if a new site had a knock-on effect on the value of the house then it could also affect the council tax banding.’
James Nisbet, who lives near another potential drilling site near Blackpool, said a would-be purchaser pulled out of buying his £375,000 house after hearing about the plan.
‘I’ve been a Conservative voter since I was 18,’ he said. ‘I’m now 60 but it’s the last time I will vote Conservative because they have sold Lancashire down the swanny with no regard for people’s health and well-being.’
Similar fears have been expressed further south at Fernhurst in West Sussex, where another fracking proposal has been lodged.
Chris Hebert, of Hamptons estate agency in nearby Haslemere, said: ‘If someone’s got something going on 24/7, people will not buy their house.’
The revelations come just weeks after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was accused of a fracking ‘cover-up’ after it censored a key report on the topic no less than 63 times in 13 pages. The chapter examining the effect of drilling on house prices had three sections redacted – although it did acknowledge a study which found the value of properties near a well in Texas had fallen by up to 14 per cent. [Emphasis added]
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No one will ever live at 1101 Carter Road in Dimock again. The 3.6-acre property is one of 18 in the Susquehanna County village where state environmental regulators in 2009 traced methane contamination in the water supplies back to faulty natural gas wells drilled by Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. The last residents, Craig and Julie Sautner, were once outspoken critics of natural gas development. As part of a confidential settlement that ended their part in a bitter lawsuit against the company, the Sautners sold their property to Susquehanna Real Estate I Corp., a Cabot subsidiary, for $167,500 in August 2012 and moved out of the state.
Last month, Cabot had the home demolished, leaving the lot largely empty save for a yard sign for Dimock Proud, a community group that supports natural gas drilling and promotes a positive image of the township’s environment. Now, Cabot has sold the property, minus the oil and gas rights, to a neighboring family for $4,000.
The deed stipulates that a home can never be built on the parcel: No building, according to the deed’s careful conditions, “shall be erected as or for or used or occupied as a residence or dwelling for human habitation.”
The restriction applies “forever.”