Environmental group Greenpeace claims that a survey of 60 estate agents operating close to potential fracking sites suggests tens of thousands of pounds will be wiped off the value of homes - and that they will become harder to sell.
Agents 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, claims Greenpeace.
The findings come from a survey of 60 agents across three key areas where energy firms are planning to carry out fracking - West Sussex, Manchester, and Lancashire.
Two thirds of the agents say fracking operations could bring down house prices. A majority of them estimate the loss in value to be more than eight per cent with two individual agents putting the loss at between 40 and 70 per cent.
A majority of the estate agents also say they are concerned fracking could reduce property sales near potential fracking sites. Most
One in four agents also say potential home buyers have expressed concerns about the prospect of fracking in the area, with four individual agents reporting some customers pulling out of transactions.
Greenpeace claims the issue will be back on the agenda this summer as 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. Yet Greenpeace claims that ministers has 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 say fracking should not be permitted until more research is done. All but two of the 60 also say the government should publish the redacted report in full.
Greenpeace says one vendor, James Nisbet, lives a few hundred metres from one of the Lancashire sites where energy firm Cuadrilla is seeking to frack. He says potential buyers have pulled out of purchasing his £375,000 house after learning about the looming energy development.
“We have had six viewings so far, all with very positive feedback, but no one wants to commit to buying with the fracking shadow hanging over us” says Nisbet. “And we’re not alone. I’ve been hearing the same story from quite a few people in the area. We have lived here for 15 years. I really like this place and I don’t want to move, but I also don’t particularly wish to stick around to see what fracking will do to this community.”