Local Litter Problem Slashes Home Prices in England

on Jan 19, 2015

Rubbish may bring down the price of a house in England by up to 12%, an environmental group’s study has found, emerging as a factor that both buyers and sellers would do well not to underestimate.

According to a report by Keep Britain Tidy, an environmental NGO, the presence of litter in the neighbourhood where a property for sale is located is a major disamenity repulsing potential buyers, and may result in a property’s value losing between 2.7% and 11.8% compared to a comparable piece of real estate in a similar but tidier location.
While the Keep Britain Tidy report ascertains that it is impossible to know which properties would be affected by a price decline because of a rubbish problem without an individual assessment of the specific neighbourhood, the impact of the litter factor is certainly not insignificant.

“To give an idea of scale, however, if just 1% of the 22 million households in England were devalued by £4,180 because of the presence of litter, the potential devaluation of the housing stock would be just under £1billion,” conclude the authors of the report.
Their work builds upon international research on the effect of litter on residential property value, and in particular extrapolates data from similar studies in the US, and applies them to the UK.
As the average house price in England and Wales stood at £176,581 at the end of 2014, a litter problem could knock between £4,768 and £20,837 off the home value, according to an estimate by The Sunday Express. The figures for London homes are even more striking – with an average house price of £461,453 at the end of 2014, the impact of a litter strewn local could knock off between £12,459 and £54,451.
“We’d like to see them (local authorities) calling together those who produce and sell packaging which ends up as litter, and local authorities, so we can educate and inform the public so they understand the consequences of what they’re doing,” commented Phil Barton, the Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, as cited by Sky News.
The negative consequences of the litter problem for the value of residential properties are acknowledged by real estate experts.

“If a street is strewn with litter, people will see what could come with this, such as crime and anti-social behaviour. This will make people think, ‘Do I want to bring up my family in an area like this?’”, Mark Hayward, president of the National Association of Estate Agents, is quoted as saying. He recommends that potential sellers cooperate with their neighbours in order to remove litter in the neighbourhood before going ahead with the sale of their property.
UK Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is quoted as saying that the present government had removed all restrictions on weekly bin collection but has stressed that the ultimate decisions on the matter were up to the local councils.

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