Christ Community Lutheran Church owns the vacant property that is situated between Rt. 15 and Woodlea Manor. They have owned this property for several years and it now appears that they are planning to submit an application to build a church on the land. Will a church on this property effect values in Woodlea Manor?
External obsolescence is the loss of value resulting from influences external to the property itself. It is the valuation principle that best explains depreciation resulting from proximity to such things as power lines, highways, gas stations or other similar commercial or industrial structures. External obsolescence is hard to quantify and is typically done through an analysis of income, utilization, or return on capital. In this case it is best quantified through a market derived analysis.
I’ve analyzed the market of multiple neighborhoods in Leesburg and elsewhere in Loudoun County that have a church within the community or close proximity. Generally I see no adverse market reaction to these neighborhoods. Values are in line with properties from competing neighborhoods that do not have a church. Marketing times are similar as are list-to-sales price ratios. If the only entrance to the church is via Rt 15 and not Woodlea Drive, then there will most likely be very little depreciation, if any at all, for houses in Woodlea that don’t back directly to the church.
Unfortunately, those homes on Jacob Ct that back directly to the proposed church will suffer some degree of external obsolescence if in fact the church is built. Those homes now enjoy a wooded view that will eventually be something less appealing. How much depreciation is hard to say. If a large buffer of trees remains, then the depreciation may be minimal. If the view becomes the parking lot of the church, then the depreciation could be significant.
When it comes to potential buyers, first impressions matter. Buyers start making judgements the minute they turn into Woodlea Drive. The Woodlea entrance is unique and its appeal provides an advantage over other neighborhoods of similar size. It is my professional opinion as a Realtor and Certified Appraiser that the aesthetics of the entrance should be protected. Preventing any access to the church property via Woodlea Drive should be a top priority.
Since this blog was first posted a few months ago, there has been a minimal amount of activity regarding the church proposal. The Woodlea Manor board has met to discuss the church proposal and has hired a law firm to represent the interests of the homeowners in the community. At this point in time, it appears that the church will have a difficult time of convincing the Woodlea Manor residents to allow for an easement that would grant access to the church property through Woodlea Drive vice Route 15. The neighborhood may have a more difficult time in preventing construction of the church, but it the plans rely on the Woodlea Drive entrance, then that path is more likely to be opposed. Another issue the Christ Community Lutheran Church faces, is having the town of Leesburg provide water and sewer access to the property. Currently the lot is NOT within the boundaries of the city and does not have access to the public utilities that the town provides.
Feel free to call or email me anytime. I’d be glad to discuss the church proposal and how it may influence home values in Woodlea Manor.
If you would like to learn more about the Woodlea Manor community you can check out their website here or view the page on my website here that is dedicated entirely to Woodlea Manor.
If you would like to see the homes that are currently on the market in Woodlea Manor, you can view them here.