Environmental factors that surround a property have a significant impact on the property's total value. Having environmental resources can significantly improve the sale price of a property, but to the same extent, having environmental liabilities can result in a significant loss of equity.
Some assets and liabilities can be assessed at the time of purchase. The presence of a wetland, for example, renders a portion of the land unusable. The liability is either the value of the land, or the cost of tiling and water drainage work that would need to be done to render the land usable. Other similar environmental liabilities include include erosion, especially if there is reason to believe it will lead to foundational instability, wastewater or drainage issues, the presence of protected species, and sinkholes. Each of these issues require maintenance or correction, creating a deficit to the property's values. Land owners should speak to a conservation agent for more information regarding environmental limitations. 97 percent of the land in and around Amarillo is privately owned and managed, and those with wetlands, protected animal habitats and other natural resources on their land may be able to draw state funding for protecting those resources.
Other environmental issues may go unnoticed until after land is purchased, or come into existence after property is purchased, devaluing the land and placing the mortgage holder at risk. These include contamination from nearby businesses or farming operations, odor from surrounding properties, noise pollution, light pollution, and other impacting environmental changes.
Perhaps one of the largest culprits for all of these changes is industrial animal production. Confinement farming is notoriously bad for the environment, with negative impacts on public health, little regard for animal welfare, and devaluation of surrounding rural communities. For example, In 2002, families that owned land around CAFO, a confinement hog operation near Amarillo, TX, sued when property values surrounding the farm dropped by more than $50,000 dollars per home. As a result, the Court ordered CAFO to pay each homeowner $100,000 dollars in damages because of an increased bug infestation in the area, physical health impacts, and emotional stress.
Similarly, wind farms have drawn public scrutiny because of a growing concern that they increase noise pollution and have negative effects on weather patterns and animal migratory pattern. The result is a decrease in property value for those immediately adjacent to wind turbines. This a major concern for Texas residents, as Texas leads the United States is wind energy production. In 2011 Alfonso Faubel, Alstom Wind Vice President, announced a specific interst in expanding wind energy creation in the Amarillo, Texas area: "Amarillo is the ideal location for Alstom's wind power manufacturing hub in North America because it is centrally located in an area that is expected to create a substantial number of new wind-power projects over the next several years."
The noise pollution, and vibration emission may degrade the value of property for some in the Amarillo area, however it should be noted that it has improved property values for others. The wind turbines require landowners to sign an ongoing lease of the property. Which generates a substantial income and serves as a financial asset for the properties that the turbines sit on. The turbines, however, take up very little space on the ground, and allow local ranchers to run cattle right up to the windmill base.
It is important for potential buyers and seasoned landowners alike to understand how environmental factors affect land value. Assess the environmental assets and liabilities on any piece of property to gauge its overall value, and what long-term benefit there is in buying and selling and particular piece of property.