A survey of 60 estate agents commissioned by Greenpeace UK has found that they believe fracking is likely to wipe tens of thousands of pounds off the values of nearby properties and make homes harder to sell.
The estate agent respondents were evenly distributed across three key areas where energy firms are planning to carry out fracking: West Sussex, Manchester, and Lancashire.
Property dealers in areas already targeted by fracking companies are also reporting concerns from prospective buyers over looming shale developments, with some sales already falling through as a result, estate agents said.
67% of the estate agents interviewed say fracking operations could bring down house prices. A majority of them estimate the loss in value to be more than 8-11%, with two agents putting it as high as 41-70%. With the price of the average house in the UK estimated at £272,000, even just a 10% drop in value could translate into a loss of tens of thousands of pounds .
54% also say they are concerned fracking could reduce property sales near potential fracking sites. Most of those who say they’re concerned believe more than one in 10 purchases could be affected, with nine dealers putting the estimate as high as 25-50% of all sales.
One in four respondents also say home buyers have expressed concerns about the prospect of fracking in the area, with four estate agents reporting some customers have pulled out as a result.
Greenpeace said the Department for Energy and Climate Change is expected to auction off licence blocks to fracking firms over an area covering more than half of Britain just after the general election.
The government has previously stated there’s no evidence that fracking will affect house prices. However, Greenpeace claims that ministers have so far refused to publish in full a heavily redacted report believed to contain evidence of the shale industry’s impact on the housing market.
Three quarters of the estate agents interviewed said fracking should not be permitted until more research is done. All but two (97%) also said the government should publish the redacted report in full.
Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Louise Hutchins said: “It looks like the mortgage ministers have bet on fracking is someone else’s. Why would people believe their promise that shale extraction won’t hit house prices when estate agents disagree and the government is still refusing to publish key evidence?
“With a highly uncertain election just days away, candidates will have a tough job persuading their constituents that fracking is worth all this pain for so little gain. No wonder over a thousand candidates from all parties have already promised to oppose this risky industry in their constituencies.”