Reducing Property Values are always a hot topic when it comes to anything that may change the make-up of the neighborhood. Allowing a flock of back yard chickens is no different: At least that is the argument used by many who are ignorant of chickens and chicken keeping.
Since 2007, there has been a sizable increase in people keeping a few hens on their property in many parts of the country: Urban & Suburban. Isn’t it interesting that the timing of popularity seems to coincide with the decline of the housing market? I am surprised that many localities have not blamed the market crash on urban chickens, since they seem to want to lay blame everywhere except the true cause……..but that’s a different post.
Being in the Real Estate Industry for many years, this is an argument that has absolutely no basis in fact. I have not been able to find any evidence-not just in Baltimore, but from anywhere in the Country that unequivocally finds that someone had to sell their home for $1000′s less because there were back yard chickens in the neighborhood.
According to BackYard Chicken Keeping submitted to the Dunwoody Planning Commission February 2010:
“There is absolutely no evidence that keeping pet hens within
the ordinance guidelines would have any affect on property values.
This is property rights issue and while it is necessary to protect
neighbors from any potential nuisance, homeowners should have as
much freedom as possible with minimal government interference. If
property values decreased with backyard chicken keeping, why would
major cities like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas,
Madison, WI, Denver…support backyard chicken keeping?”
Chicken owners are no different from any other pet owner: They care about the well being of the pet and they are concerned about any effect on property values.
Here is an article from a Realtor in the Salem, OR area concerning Property values in Salem vs Portland when it concerns Back Yard Chickens. Her assessment in Salem, as well as another professional in Portland show no evidence of back yard chickens making any difference in property values.
One of the best breakdowns I could find came from the Cincinnati Locavore: Chicken Keeping and Property Values. Of the 23 Suburbs that are broken down by property value and whether they allow BackYard Chickens: Only 6 prohibit the residential pet hen. It is also of interest to note that all 6 of those suburbs are in the lower tiers of the property values.
The authors assessment of the research:
“Communities which allow chicken-keeping tend to have HIGHER property values than those that prohibit it.”
How about a little closer to our home: Annapolis, Maryland. Annapolis adopted a new pet chicken law on April 9 of this year. Annapolis has some of the higher property values in the State, with the median housing price at $391.5K vs the median price in Baltimore County of $222.9K, according to zillow.com. The new law is very friendly to any would-be pet chicken owner. The council is siding with residents who have been hard hit by this economy. Read their new handbook: BackYard Chickens in the City of Annapolis. I just wish that our Baltimore County Council had the backbone to stand up for the citizens they are supposed to represent, not to mention standing up for personal property rights.
Through the research that I have done on the web and through local sources, I can find no evidence that pet chicken ownership has made an impact in any way on property values. With homesteaders becoming more prevalent in today’s world, backyard chicken laws should be looked at once again and rewritten to allow for those of us that choose to be more self-reliant should have the ability to do so without the Government dictating to us what they believe is right.
If you missed the first 3 posts in the series: