The effect of proximity to cellular sites on home prices in Israel
· The effect of cellular sites on the prices of homes in their proximity was estimated for the years 2000–2011, using a method that takes into account the possibility that the placement of the sites was not at random.
· Proximity to cellular antennas was not found to have a statistically significant effect on home prices.
The sharp increase in mobile communication services in Israel since the end of the 1980s has been accompanied by the widespread deployment of cellular sites. These sites may have negative external effects on the prices of real estate in their proximity, derived from concern over health problems caused by radiation and from aesthetic hazard, particularly from antenna poles that stand out from their surroundings.
A study conducted by Elad Demalach and Noam Zussman of the Bank of Israel Research Department, together with David Genesove and Asaf Zussman from the Economics Department at the Hebrew University, estimated the effect of proximity to cellular sites on home prices. The database for the study included the Israel Tax Authority’s file of residential transactions between 2000 and 2011, as well as comprehensive information on the location and characteristics of cellular antennas in Israel over the years, kindly supplied by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
A common problem in this type of study is that the placement of cellular sites is not necessarily coincidental (“selection bias”). It is possible that the placement operates in tandem with other characteristics that, on their own, also have an effect on home prices. For instance, there may be a stronger tendency to place antennas on buildings with residents or neighbors from relatively weak socioeconomic backgrounds, due to less opposition on their part to the antennas’ placement or due to lower cellular company payments to the residents. In those areas, home prices are apparently lower in any case.
In order to deal with the “selection bias”, the tendency to place cellular sites next to homes was calculated first. Then, the effect of proximity to cellular sites on home prices was estimated, while controlling for the tendency to place sites in the dwelling’s environment and the characteristics of the dwelling, the neighborhood and the time.
Without considering the “selection bias”, it was found that proximity to cellular sites is correlated with a decline of 1–2 percent in home prices, similar to the findings of other studies around the world that did not devote enough attention to the problem. After taking the “selection bias” into account, proximity to cellular sites was not found to have a statistically significant impact on home prices. This result is also valid regarding antenna poles which, as stated, are more prominent. The result also remains when examining repeat transactions in the same building or dwelling. The effect was not different between areas of higher or lower socioeconomic ranking.