If research in a new study is accurate, a Philadelphia residential real estate buyer may think twice before buying a home near a billboard. An urban-planning study suggests that billboards and high home values do not mix.

Billboards are bad news for home values, according to a report called “Beyond Aesthetics: How Billboards Affect Economic Prosperity.” The study’s author based his research in Philadelphia, where he discovered that home values sank the closer they were to advertising billboards. By comparison, the data showed cities that regulated the number and size of billboards enjoyed higher financial prosperity.

The Philadelphia-based research found that residences closest to billboards were worth tens of thousands of dollars less than those farther away from them. Homes built within 500 feet of a billboard lost more than $30,800 in value compared to homes outside that range.

The study revealed that, for every billboard added to a census tract, the value of homes in the area lost almost $1,000 in value.

The news is no surprise to the president of Scenic America, who said that chipping away the aesthetics of a neighborhood diminishes its and its residents’ well-being. The study is believed to be the first of its kind to measure the impact of billboards on home values in a community.

Philadelphia was not the only city used in the research. Nineteen other cities were also part of the study. The data showed that cities where billboards were heavily regulated also had fewer abandoned properties and wealthier residents with higher average incomes.

Of course, if one is looking for a deal on cheaper residential real estate, having this information could protect them from paying too much for a home near a billboard.

Source: Paramus Post, “Study Shows Billboards Hurt Nearby Property Values,” Mel Fabricant, Dec. 12, 2011