Mobile phone masts & electricity pylons can impact on property prices

Mobile phone masts and electricity pylons near housing developments can affect property values.

The location of mobile phone masts and electricity pylons can impact property values. While many housing developments can increase average house prices in the nearby areas, some projects can have the opposite effect and reduce property prices. Large-scale infrastructure projects, mining operations and industrial installations are usually dirty, noisy and disruptive, and buyers try to avoid them at all costs. However, the structure of new electricity pylons and mobile phone masts has been hitting the headlines more recently. Part of the increased interest in these particular developments is their effect on net house prices in the affected areas.

The statistics surrounding mobile phone masts and electricity pylons in the UK

Mobile phone mast
Telecommunication tower with dish and mobile antenna on mountains at sunset sky background, toned.

According to the Mobile Operators Association, more than 51,000 mobile masts are in the UK at the beginning of 2009. In urban areas, these masts are at intervals of between 200 metres and 500 metres, and in rural areas, spaced at intervals of 2 to 5 kilometres. In many locations, masts are disguised, located inside existing tall structures or erected on the roofs of buildings. In addition, new technology means mobile operators are contacting private homeowners for permission to build hidden masts on houses in return for a rent.

Electricity pylons are not as inconspicuous as mobile telephone masts; in fact, they have changed little since first erected in the 1920s. A total of 88,000 pylons are currently delivering electricity to every corner of the country, and 22,000 of them connect to the National Grid’s leading network. These striking structures stand at over 50 metres tall, and they cast imposing shadows over houses that are situated close by.

Are associated health problems affecting property prices?

Even though several government-sponsored research programmes suggest that mobile phone masts are safe, there are still some dissenting voices in the medical community. This uncertainty has the potential to scare off potential property buyers – forcing local sold house prices downwards. However, the health risks associated with living near electricity pylons seems a little more convincing. According to research by the medical group SAGE, people living within 60 yards of a high-voltage pylon are at an increased risk of developing certain forms of cancer and neurological disorders. The same report also calls for a minimum of 160 yards between pylons and residential dwellings.

However, the need for more housing in the UK means that there will inevitably be more pylons appearing on British landscapes for many years to come. Faced with potential health problems and the blight on the local surroundings, many buyers are merely avoiding homes close to these structures. There is some anecdotal proof that the proximity of masts and pylons is directly driving down house sale prices.

Potential health problems associated with electricity pylons & mobile phone masts

In 2006, the government set up a committee of leading health professionals to assess the potential health problems linked to people living near an electricity pylon and overhead electricity lines. The committee suggested that new homes should not be built near existing pylons, and future pylons should be built well away from such structures. The committee said over 130,000 homes in the UK were too close to pylons in 2006. Experts say house prices nearby could devalue by up to a quarter. So maybe it’s time to consider other renewable heating technologies instead of building houses near pylons or masts.

Net house prices in areas close to mobile phone masts have been affected in some areas of the country. However, due to the need for urban coverage for mobile phone networks – along with the roll-out of new 4G networks – it seems living close to a mobile mast in the city will soon become completely unavoidable. In addition, the well-documented health problems potentially associated with living close to electricity pylons could have a more profound effect on property prices – whether those health problems are proven or not. If your house is near a pylon or mast and you need to assess the value of your home, then check what similar properties have sold for; try our handy property valuation tool, which will give you an estimate for your house’s worth.

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