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Echo Barrier Blog

Noise pollution can drastically affect property value

Posted by Tom Peary on May 24, 2020 10:40:44 AM | Uncategorised

It's hard to get the full picture of a neighborhood before you buy a home – especially in terms of noise. After all, you have a limited window of time when scoping out a property and it can be almost impossible to gauge how loud it’s going to be. That’s why a mathematician and former Caltech teacher mapped the loudness of every address in Los Angeles and last year released it in website form. How Loud founder Brendan Farrell mapped noise profiles of areas based on their proximity to bars and restaurants; construction projects nearby; traffic in the area; and how close a location is to highways, railroads, airports or public transportation. He then used physics to determine how loud the area really is, incorporating the time of day of the noise and the intensity. Visual representations show what sound level can be expected in any part of Los Angeles with Hollywood and Vine making more noise than Hollywood and Highland and UCLA louder than USC.  

Peak property value
The reason How Loud is so useful is that it can help inform buyers about how desirable an area really is to live in. But this could be a kick in the teeth for sellers. After all, recent research revealed a noisy environment can be a liability when it comes to how much your property is worth. Noise pollution is anything which interferes with, disrupts or diminishes one’s quality of life. And noise nuisance is used to describe an activity or condition that is harmful or annoying to others. This could include building and construction site noise, parties or open-air events with loud music, industrial processes or airplane noise. While noise isn't totally escapable, home buyers will want to be on the lookout for excessive noise pollution – for their own sanity as well as the potential resale value.  

What’s loud?
Let’s consider one the noisiest places in the Unites States – New York City, a vibrant hotbed of chaos that never sleeps. In 2007 the City updated the Noise Code for the first time in 30 years to reflect the changing landscape and advances in acoustic technology. Simply put, the Noise Code was created to reduce: “The making, creation or maintenance of excessive and unreasonable and prohibited noises within the city affects and is a menace to public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and the prosperity of the people of the city.” It decided that any noise that exceeds the ambient sound level by more than 10 decibels (dB) as measured from 15 feet from the source as measured from inside any property or on a public street should be prohibited.  

What suits you
Of course, high noise levels don't automatically correlate with lower prices. Some of the most expensive homes in New York City are located in midtown Manhattan - home to the theater district, the tourist magnet Times Square, and a number of skyscraper office blocks. The key is to know what noise you can live with and what you can’t – and what disruption is temporary and what is permanent. In LA quieter areas are generally deemed more desirable, and real estate prices tend to reflect that.  

Do your homework
When considering buying a home in LA, take a look at How Loud but do your own homework too. While some of the main noise culprits can be easily spotted - like the proximity of highways, stadiums, airports, train, and bus stations - other factors like regular deliveries or trash removal might not be. Additionally, you should find out about any construction works planned for the area and what, if anything, they are doing to keep noise disruption to a minimum during the planned work. Our acoustic barriers are tested and proven to give up to 40dB noise control. And with the right products in the right place, this means the site can operate day and night to get the job done quicker and with minimal disruption to the community.

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