How Noise Affects Real Estate Prices

It’s not easy to get a complete picture of a neighborhood before buying a home, especially in terms of noise. After all, you have a limited time window when exploring a property, and it can be impossible to measure how loud it will be. Neighborhoods near downtown, freeways, airports, and large shopping centers are exposed to high noise levels.

Other noise pollution sources are schools, train and fire stations, hospitals, large apartments, and industrial complexes. Although all the mentioned above are crucial for the life and development of the communities. The noise and activities around them alter the tranquility of the neighborhood inhabitants and the price of the properties.

People want to live where nothing interrupts the sense of living well. The proximity of schools and sports fields involves the inconvenience of heavy traffic and lack of parking spaces. Areas overpopulated are known as noisy and potentially crimen sources.

A recent survey finds that 75% of new homeowners regret something one year after purchasing their homes. Two of the most causes of regret are house size and location. Another interesting data shows that when buyers take time to study their future neighborhoods, 27% decline the buy.

In this post, we explore how the noise pollution produced around the neighborhoods can reduce the price of properties. And how some tricks will help to minimize adverse outcomes.

Realtor’s Opinions About Noisy Neighborhoods

Real estate agents know that noisy neighborhoods are challenging when they need to list a property. Buyers of all ages prefer to move to a quiet place, but which is the best approach if a client needs to sell his house? What is the strategy to have a successful sale?

We contacted 70 real estate agents to ask how they help homeowners in noisy areas. Our survey involved Washington, Oregon, and California. During two months, we did contact 10 participants per city; Seattle and Spokane for Washington, Portland, and Eugene for Oregon. And finally, for California, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.

Interviewees were asked to respond to five questions:

  1. Are you willing to help homeowners in noisy neighborhoods?
  2. Do you alert potential buyers about noise?
  3. Do you recommend installing noise-proof windows?
  4. What is the less noisy area in a big city?
  5. How much might an offer go down because of noise?

The interviewees were instructed to respond yes or no to questions 1, 2, and 3 and to provide a brief explanation. For questions 4 and 5, they were asked to give an extended answer.

Results

Of the 70 real estate agents contacted, 64% answered the survey, which means 48 agents:

Question No.Answered yes. ParticipantsExplanationAnswered no. ParticipantsExplanation
132Prefer to disclose all issues.16No bother.
232Prefer to disclose all issues.16  No bother.
327They Would recommend it. 21They consider it not necessary

Expanding on responses to questions 1, 2, and 3, the average response was as follows:

Answer 1 and 2: 32 The real estate agents stated that as a practice, they inform their clients about the problems related to the property they wish to offer. They also say that a dissatisfied customer would mean future business losses. The other 16 agents declared it unnecessary to disclose the noise matter. They also said that people living in big cities are accustomed to all sorts of noises.

Answer 4: The agent’s responses are divided. 29 Agents say that the noisiest areas in big cities are around the airports. 19 claim that freeways are the most boisterous area. Agents coincide that although noise is a concern, many buyers don’t notice the problem before they inhabit the new property. “Buyers are enthusiastic about the new house and usually do not pay attention to many problems.” Said Kim Chiang from San Francisco.

Single-family homes near large apartment complexes and schools experience high noise and traffic congestion levels.

Answer 5. Real estate agents contacted said that location matters. And Thanks to the popularity of Google Maps and other aerial and satellite views, buyers can check out the location online beforehand. Quieter areas are generally deemed more desirable, reflecting real estate prices. Properties near airports receive 20% less than other houses in the area.

According to a Los Angeles Broker, “Home sellers within a 2-mile radius from Lax or the Long Beach airport will discount 13.2% from the average home price in the rest of the zip code.” Roger Garcia said.

Mark Stevenson, a real estate agent for 18 years in Seattle, said properties near the 5 Freeway and the Seattle-Tacoma airport sell for 16% less than homes in other, less noisy areas. He gives an example of a deal that was able to close after a property listed on Beacon Ave for 25 days had a 16% price reduction. 

Other noisy areas in the big cities suffer less reduction than proximity to airports and busy highways. Homes near malls or tourist sites sell 6 to 10% less than the same house in a quiet area of the same city.

The interviewees stated that busy and noisy neighborhoods deteriorate faster than other areas of the city, producing extra expenses for repairs and adverse effects on people’s health. 

And most of these tranquility destroyers also have a positive side. After all, quickly hopping on a plane, train, or highway is convenient for commuting or taking a trip. And while a 24-hour supermarket offers a 5.1% discount for nearby properties, a grocery store typically increases home prices by 3.4%.

Homes within 0.1 miles of a school are discounted by 4.3%, but if they are a little further away, from 1 mile to 5 miles, buyers will pay an 8.6% premium for comfort.

And while a nearby fire station might keep people up at night if the engines frequently stall, buyers will pay 1.8% less for your home, was the common opinion of realtors in the northwest states.

The Effects Of Noise Pollution On Human Health

When unwanted noise infiltrates the environment, it causes pollution. Noise pollution can harm your health. Stress, inadequate sleep, or hearing impairment are common side effects of noise pollution on human health. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is the most prevalent health condition caused by it.

Decibels

(dBs) are a unit of measuring sound that starts at zero, meaning the softest sound people can hear. As sound levels increase, so does the amount of damage your ears can be exposed to.

On the Decibels scale, 20dB is not twice 10dB. Small increases in dB mean significant increases in sound intensity.

An everyday conversation supposedly won’t harm your hearing. Normal conversation sounds are usually below 70 decibels. Loudest sounds, such as those created by lawnmowers, motorcycles, and loud music, can reach up to 120 decibels and cause hearing loss over time. Other Sounds above 120 decibels, such as firecrackers or sirens, can cause immediate or permanent hearing loss.

Hearing Loss

Although there have been advances in all aspects of hearing health care, from the tiniest baby to the older adult, new and exciting options are available to help. Hearing loss affects 48 million people in the United States. That can occur at birth or can develop at any age. People living in large cities have major indices of hearing loss.

A study from the Center of Hearing and Communication reveals that:

1 in 3 people over 65 have some hearing loss.

1 in 3 people over the age of 75 have hearing loss.

Tinnitus affects 50 million in the United States.

1 in 6 large city residents is affected by hearing loss.

Treatments vary depending on the degree or type of hearing loss, age of onset, and individual lifestyle needs. If you suspect that you or a family member has a hearing loss, a hearing evaluation by a licensed audiologist is the best place to start.

Blood Pressure

There are several studies about the relationship between noise and blood pressure. The National Library of Medicine compiles the results of the investigations. Although there is no strong evidence, the researchers indicate that exposure to high decibel levels,  such as highway traffic, produces arousal on stress and, consequently, high blood pressure, which eventually might unchain cardio diseases.

Although we can conclude that noise exposure can contribute to the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, the evidence for a relation between noise exposure and ischemic heart disease is still inconclusive because of the limitations in exposure characterization, adjustment for important confounders, and the occurrence of publication bias.” Source, Free PMC article.

Studies have shown that people exposed to high levels of traffic noise, with a 24‐ hour average of 55 decibels or more, are at a higher risk for hypertension, and those exposed to 60 decibels or more are at a higher risk for stroke. If humans are affected by noise, so must the residential property value.

How To Mitigate The Noise

You can take steps to mitigate the impact of noise on your home’s value. For example, your neighbors, their kids, and even their pets can create unintentional noises from time to time. Some people live near the streets and are constantly bothered by vehicle noises. It can be disturbing for people in a work-from-home setup; this noise is difficult to control. For this reason, it would be an excellent idea if you manage it. In addition, installing soundproof insulation in your house walls and replacing the old windows with ones that prevent noise from entering your home is a good idea.

The downhill aspect of these installations is the cost. Replacing insulation for soundproofing in your house might cost tens of thousands of dollars. You will find beautiful and practical soundproof windows on the market, but materials and labor will also reach high prices.

Taking provisions to reduce the damage caused by noise may include the use of ear plugs. Avoid noisy environments, and adjust the volume of communication devices.

Living Near Loud Noises

Sometimes, the excitement of buying a home to raise the family doesn’t let people observe in full detail the neighborhood where they are going to live in. 

Crime and high noise levels are disastrous factors for home prices. Noise affects in the same extent newborns and older people. Being exposed to noise pollution means risking your health. Personal and family economy is also affected by noisy living areas.

Homeowners who want to prevent the effects of a noisy neighborhood may incur significant money withdrawal. Health care and home insurance are more expensive in high-noise areas. Insurance companies consider laud neighborhoods as a potential harm. Living next to noise production might mean more than just a monetary hit. Higher sound levels may cause cardiovascular risk, as well.

Noise, And Real Estate Prices 

While outside noise isn’t escapable, home buyers will want to be on the lookout for excessive noise pollution because it could affect a property’s value. After all, you don’t want to live in (or have to unload eventually) a place that requires a lifetime supply of earplugs.

Sound levels are measured in decibels – a 3-decibel decrease means a cut in the power of about half.

You can call an investor to get an offer on your home before listing it on the market. This way, you’ll be able to sell your home without worrying about the price reduction caused by noise pollution. 

Independent realtor’s studies showed that 50% of buyers would consider a home with road noise, and a home valued at 500K can drop nearly $40,000 in value when affected by road noise pollution. 

Is It Difficult To Sell A House In A Noisy Neighborhood?

Selling a home in a noisy area is challenging but never impossible. The real estate market is so complex that there are always buyers for the whole property spectrum.

In order to sell a property located in a high-noise area, homeowners must comply with the universal market requirements. It is crucial to have the house in good condition. The outside and inside features must be well presented and in good function. Declutter, cleanness, and curve appeal are essential to cause a good impression on potential buyers.

The real estate agent you hire to sell your property in a loud area should be an experimented and well-trained professional willing to accept challenges. First, your agent should disclose the noise factor to potential buyers. And second, outpoint the benefits of living close to freeways, airports, malls, Schools, and commercial sites.

If you’re selling your home, you also should be concerned about what potential buyers will think about the noise pollution in your neighborhood. Knowing what buyers think helps to overcome impediments and create a good selling opportunity.

Other homeowners take a different option to sell their properties in noisy areas. They call an investor to get an offer on their homes instead of listing them on the market. That way, they will be able to sell their homes in a short time without worrying about the price reduction caused by noise pollution. 

Real estate investors buy homes As-Is. Typically, they see the house physically and present the owner with a written offer. After the homeowner accepts the proposal, investors close in about seven days. Homeowners who decide to sell their homes to professional real estate buyers don’t pay for home repairs, closing costs, real estate commissions, and unexpected expenses.
Real estate investors are an effective alternative for sellers in a hurry. While a property lasts from 91 to 180 days on the market, Investors will purchase a house in about seven days. You can contact an investor in your area. They are flexible and always willing to negotiate with you the best price for the property.

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