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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fracking boom could lead to housing bust

Lawyers, realtors, public officials, and environmental advocates from Pennsylvania to Arkansas to Colorado are noticing that banks and federal agencies are revisiting their lending policies to account for the potential impact of drilling on property values, and in some cases are refusing to finance property with or even just near drilling activity.

"Brian and Amy Smith live across the street from a new gas well in Daisytown in Washington County, Pa., an hour south of Pittsburgh. Last year, when they applied for a new mortgage on their $230,000 home and hobby farm, they were denied. According to ABC affiliate WTAE, this appears to be the first example in western Pennsylvania of a homeowner being denied a mortgage because of gas drilling on a neighbor’s property:
In an email, Quicken Loans told the Smiths, “Unfortunately, we are unable to move forward with this loan. It is located across the street from a gas drilling site.” Two other national lenders also turned down Brian Smith’s application.
“I think a lot of folks nationally are watching this case,” says Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), a congressman who represents areas north and west of Denver. He noted that in his home district fracking leads to a “haircut on a property’s values. I think it is something that the banks would frankly be smart to look at,” Polis says. Elisabeth N. Radow, a lawyer and chair of the League of Women Voters of New York State’s Committee on Energy, Agriculture and the Environment, says the Smiths’ story shows that property owners are clearly vulnerable to what happens on their neighbors’ land in fracking territory. “A [fracking] gas well brings commercial activity, can pollute drinking water and devalue the property.”"

http://grist.org/climate-energy/fracking-boom-could-lead-to-housing-bust/