Can Zoning or Zoning Changes Impact the Sale of Your Home?
Keeping with the theme of situations that can derail the sale of your home, I thought we’d take a look at zoning. As I write this, this is a hot button issue in Bend as some proposed developments being debated are centered around zoning changes in what would otherwise be considered a single family, residential neighborhood.
Zoning is essentially a way for municipalities to ensure that areas are developed in consistent patterns. Building types and uses are grouped together for different reasons. Zoning changes are usually done by request and intended changes are open for discussion. The question comes down to this: Can zoning or zoning changes impact the sale of your home?
Without directly referencing the aforementioned neighborhood that is facing a zoning change, the gist of the disagreement is about the addition of multi-family dwellings in a neighborhood that currently has none. The homes are not overly priced and sales have been consistent but residents have made references to home values in their dispute with the city.
Zoning changes, even those currently being discussed, should be part of the disclosures sellers are required to do. Real estate investors often do this sort of research as standard procedure. But home buyers are not always likely to have this sort of due diligence. Title searches do not reveal future or possible changes.
Zoning changes are often nuanced. It might be as simple as allowing more residences to be constructed per acre, creating a density that, in the case of Bend is inevitable but might be seen as a deterrent to property values and way of life (i.e. increased traffic, pressure on resources, etc.).
Let’s look at the property value issue first. When zoning is done to accommodate the construction of “apartment houses,” the proposed zoning changes is designed to create affordable housing in an area that is seen as growing – and Bend fits that description. But the argument about the impact on property values may be the result of those zoning changes.
Zoning is designed to conserve and prevent depreciation, not enhance the buildings in a particular zone. Ironically, the appearance of “apartment houses” increases the value of the land, often significantly while preserving the value of the structures on it. Zoning changes such as these density changes often include plans to add green spaces, create natural boundary buffers and of course, address potential traffic changes.
Do zoning changes impact the way of life? It is possible that for some residents who believe that by restricting zoning changes is for the good the long-term preservation of the neighborhood. It should also be noted that as cities expand to accommodate new residents and new businesses to service those neighborhoods increase in numbers, workers will be needed and housing needs to be added. And this is where the argument might hinge on biases.
The National Housing Institute has studied the density issue and published this finding:
“Contrary to these common assumptions, several studies have consistently found that, if affordable housing is well designed, fits in with the surrounding neighborhood, and is well managed, there appear to be no negative impacts of that housing on the property values of neighboring houses. Other studies have shown that population growth associated with new affordable housing does not necessarily yield higher municipal costs, and there is actually less increase in school costs related to the construction of multifamily developments than there is with new single-family houses.”
The bottom line and the answer to the question I first presented, the answer would be no, zoning or zoning changes should not impact the sale of your home. You should however disclose the discussion and its progress and allow the buyer to make an informed decision. Failure to disclose might have negative legal ramifications for the seller.
Property values are more than likely to increase as services are added as a result of density changes. In fact, a seller in this neighborhood may have under-priced their home as result. If you think that this is you, feel free to call me to discuss.
How can we assist you today?
On behalf of The Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty
Nola Horton-Jones, Principal Broker/Realtor | ABR, C-RIS, e-PRO, GREEN, RSPS, CCIM Candidate
Bryce Jones, Broker/Realtor | ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GREEN, GRI, RSPS, SFR
The Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty | 57057 Beaver Drive | Sunriver, OR 97707
Mobile: 541-420- 3725 | Mobile: 541-420- 4018 | Fax: 541-593- 5123
Licensed in Oregon