No one likes to see litter disguising their street, but it has now been revealed that if your road is full of rubbish, the value of your home could be knocked by tens of thousands of pounds.
Neighbourhoods covered in litter can see property prices drop by around 12%, a report has found.
Cleaning up an area can have as big an impact on a house’s selling price as building an extension.
The research also revealed that reducing litter can help to cut crime, which is another factor in determining property prices.
This is the first study conducted on how litter affects house prices. The Keep Britain Tidy campaign found that the value of suburban homes with litter problems can be calculated at between 2.7-11.8% less than they should be.1
Litter Outside Houses can Cut 12% off Value
The average property value in England and Wales is £176,581, meaning that a serious litter issue could take £20,837 off the price. For a £500,000 home, the loss in value could be £58,823.
The report stated that if litter affected just 1% of the nation’s 22m properties, the total loss in value would surpass £1 billion.
The report cautions: “Even taking the lower end of the scale, a 2.7% reduction in value would represent a considerable loss in value for many homeowners.”1
These numbers are based on a National Association of House Builders pricing model in the USA. Furthermore, a survey in the USA in 2009 found that litter would influence 93% of house buyers, and 55% of estate agents say litter would reduce their valuation by up to 9%.1
Keep Britain Tidy’s Tim Burns says: “When people are looking to buy a new home they want to feel they are buying in a nice place, where the community is cared for.
“There’s a lot of evidence to show in a more littered environment, people are less helpful to each other. Crime breeds litter and it might be that litter breeds crime. The knock-on effect is that people don’t want to move there and prices are reduced. If you clean up the neighbourhood, it can improve your bank balance.”1
The report included data from a study in Massachusetts, USA. 34 crime hotspots were identified in the state, where they accounted for 23% of all crime in Massachusetts, but make up less than 3% of its geographical area.
During a one-year period, half of the hotspots were cleaned up and half weren’t touched. The tidied parts experienced a 20% fall in calls to police and a 27% reduction in litter after the test period.1
The National Association of Estate Agents’ Mark Hayward states: “You buy with your heart, not your head, so first impressions are important. Impressions of a property are made in the first two minutes, so the street leading up to it can make the buyer say, ‘No thank you’.”1