Congressman Jared Polis, who represents Larimer and Boulder Counties, has been in the news because of his role in pushing constitutional initiatives that would further restrict gas and oil development in Colorado. On He has said many times that he wants to protect property values. For example, on July 16 he said “My one goal is to find a solution that will allow my constituents to live safely in their homes, free from the fear of declining property values or unnecessary health risks.”
But is there any data to support his assertion that fracking hurts property values? The answer to this question appears to be no. According to data from IRES, median home prices in the Greeley MSA have increased from $170,500 in 2011 to $230,000 in the 2nd quarter of 2014. Looking specifically at towns with a lot of gas and oil development (Mead, the Tri-towns and Erie) median single-family prices have increased substantially. In Erie for example, the median home price in 2011 was $302,391. By June 30 2014, the median price was $378,000.
To be sure many factors may explain the rise in home prices. But our sales data does not seem to support the claim that living near fracking operations hurts property values.