Just when you’ve found the perfect house, you realise it’s on a main road. But the question is; should you buy this house or should you give it a miss? Should you live near a major road?
There are a number of factors to consider when buying a house on a main road, which include pollution, noise, how difficult it will be to sell the house in the future, and what effect this will have on future house price increases because it’s next to a main road.
It is for these reasons why you need to consider carefully whether you should buy a house on a main road.
Only buy a house on a main road after considering road noise, the effects of pollution, the effect the proximity of the road will have on the future sale value and how difficult it will be to sell the house in the future. The closer to a main road the bigger the effect on value and saleability.
Please also read this article to discover how you could save £71,475 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. Even I was amazed when I did the calculations! Especially if you are selling at the same time as considering the purchase of a house on a main road.
Is it bad to buy on a main road?
It can be bad to buy a house on a main road as this will affect the saleability of the house in the future and its value growth when compared to house not close to roads. A house on a road is also bad as your health will suffer from the fumes and due to noise pollution.
Does a main road affect house price?
The price of a house on a main road is affected and can be as much as 10-20% cheaper than an equivalent home not on a main road. If the house is near a busy road like a motorway, this will have a greater impact on price.
For more information about buying a house next to a motorway, take a read of this article: Should You Buy A House Next To A Motorway: Factors To Consider. There is an interesting section on decibel levels and distance from a motorway and is worth a read. Plus a key section on the affects on price increases in the future too.
Does road noise affect house price?
Road noise has been shown to affect house prices by up to 30%. An example of a large 5-bed house with a large garden and off-road parking in Stretton-on-Fosse, Warks on a main A-road was priced at £350,000, whereas a a similar house away from the traffic would sell at £500,000. This represents a 30% discount on value.
The example given is from an article by the Daily Mail online.
Also, according to upnest.com, a recent study showed 50% of buyers won’t consider a home with road noise.
Is it bad to live near a main road?
There are several reasons why it is bad to live near a main road, which include:
- Living near busy roads stunts lung growth in children by up to 13%.*
- Traffic pollution causes asthma attacks in children.
- Traffic pollution may cause other effects such as the onset of childhood asthma, impaired lung function, premature death and death from cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular morbidity.
- Studies have found an increased risk of premature death from living near a major highway or an urban road.
- A study of adults who live close to heavy traffic have a higher risk of dementia, although the strongest association was those who lived in major cities within 50 metres (164 feet) of the roads and have never moved.
- In a study of older men it was found that long-term exposure to traffic pollution increased their risk of having poor cognition.
- Increased noise pollution will have an impact on sleep quality, whereby if it’s at levels of 55dB this is considered dangerous for public health, increasing annoyance and sleep disturbances.
* Research according to Kings College London about living near a busy road can stunt children’s lung growth.
What are the factors to consider with buying a house on a main road?
There are a number of factors to take into account with any house that’s on a main road. These include the following:
- Distance from the main road: The further away the house is from the main road, the less the noise levels will be. You should take a look at this website Extrium, which provides noise levels near to major highways in England. Even if you don’t live in England, this map will still be useful for you to understand how distance affects noise levels from busy highways. But also read this article about how far from a motorway can you hear it too in conjunction with this map.
- If the house has double or triple glazing: The closer the house is to the highway, the more important it is the house has double of triple glazed windows. However, double glazing doesn’t help when you open the windows. Nor will it help with noise levels in the garden of the property either.
- Resale value: The closer a house is to a main road, and the greater the noise levels, the lower the value will be when compared to similar properties further away or that are nowhere near a busy highway.
- Length of time to sell in the future: It will take longer to sell a house on a main road, as less buyers will want to buy a house in this location.
- Are you a light sleeper? If you are a light sleeper you shouldn’t buy a house on a main road, especially if you like to sleep with your windows open at night.
- Do you have young children? You have to consider the safety of your children when living on a main road and their health, as the fumes and pollution is know to affect their lungs and growth.
- Do you have pets? Pets are more at risk when you live near a busy main road, as there’s more risk they will get run over. This especially applies to cats, as cats come and go of their own free will, whereas dogs tend to be kept in a garden.
- Traffic. Is the road backed-up with traffic in rush-hour and will drivers let you out onto the road?
- Rubbish in your front garden. Too many people have no respect for others and disguard their rubbish along main roads, which will end up in your front garden.**
** When I lived on a main road, I sued to have to collect the rubbish left by passing motorists in large black bin liners. Admittedly I had a large frontage to this house and a large grass verge, but it was a real eye opener to how disrespectful some people are. From bottles and cans, to takeaway packaging and other rubbish, it was awful. So be aware that if you live on a main road, you will get rubbish in your front garden.
What to do before you buy a house on a main road
Before you put an offer in on a property on a main road, visit the property at different times of the day to check noise levels. Ask the vendor of the property if you can open the windows in the house to listen to noise levels, especially check these levels in the bedrooms, and at busier times of the day.
Also, stand in the garden at different times of the day to see how noisy the traffic sounds are.
Then do your research on properties in the area before you put an offer in.
Check comparable sold prices of similar houses that are nowhere near a main road in the same postcode area. The house on the main road should be priced at less than a comparable property that isn’t next to a main road with all else being equal.
Can you get a mortgage on a property on a main road
You will normally be able to get a mortgage on a property next to a main road. But the valuation will be affected by how close it is, which will affect how much you can borrow from lenders.
What are the pros and cons of buying a house on a main road?
As with anything, there are always pros and cons to consider. As far as buying a house next to a main road the pros and cons include.
What are the pros of buying a house on a main road?
- You can get a bigger and better house for less money.
- If the main road is the direct link to where you work it a benefit if you are a commuter.
- For those people who don’t like it too quiet, the main road provides background noise.
- On some main roads, the sound is a constant background sound that you can get used to and some find soothing and it can sound like the sea.
- If the house isn’t downwind of the main road, the sound won’t be as bad.
- You are more likely to be on a bus route.
What are the cons of buying a house on a main road?
- Your house will probably take longer to sell.
- The value will be lower than a comparable house not on a main road.
- The garden will be noisier if the house is next to a main road.
- If you are a light sleeper you won’t like the noise.
- Noise will be more if the house is near a junction or roundabout due to traffic braking and accelerating.
- You are exposed to the risks of pollution.
- Fast sports cars, motorbikes and blue-light emergency vehicles will be very noisy.
- Noise is not good for a restful night’s sleep, especially if you sleep with the windows open.
- When it rains and the roads are wet, it gets noisier.
- If the house is downwind of the main road, the sound will be worse.
- If it’s near to a junction this will be noisier.
- Pets are at a greater risk.
- Your house will be more dusty from the dust created by traffic on the road.
- You will get more rubbish thrown onto your front garden by passing traffic.
How to minimise the affects of noise from a nearby main road
One of the only ways to cancel out the sound of a nearby main road would be to have a water feature in the garden. Water features have a calming effect and will focus your attention on the nearby sound of running water, which will drown-out the road noise.
Whereas inside the house it will benefit from having double of triple glazed windows, which will cut down on noise pollution. But this won’t help when the windows are open in the summer months.
Living near a busy road, how annoying is it?
Living near a busy road can be annoying, as the noise can often be there all the time depending on the main road. You will get used to the noise, but you may not like it in the end, especially if you’re used to living somewhere quiet.
Having said this, we live in a house that’s about 120 metres from a dual carriageway. At busier times we can hear the background sound when we are in the garden, but this sounds like the sea to my wife and me. There are trees between us and the road, which I think does help. But Dorset council also resurfaced this road to quieter tarmac too.
This also conflicts with the decibel levels in the article about how far from a motorway can you hear it. But in particular this section about motorway noise levels. Which confirms to me that you should visit the property more than once to check noise levels for yourself.
If the main road is a dual carriageway, as we have, occasional you get a fast car or motorbike speed down the road, or have an emergency vehicle blue lighting, and these are noisy.
But inside the house we can’t hear the road, unless the windows are open, but even then the noise is hardly noticeable.
On a positive note, we are well positioned to get straight on this dual carriageway to shoot straight into Bournemouth if we wish. So if the house you are looking to buy is convenient to a main road that leads to where many drive on a regular basis, buyers will see this as a selling point if they travel in that direction for work.
I far prefer living near this dual carriageway than when I lived next to a small B-road. It was when lorries drove past that the house vibrated and shook like a mini-earthquake, so it was far noisier.
But then this is the house I refer to in my video course about selling your house in under 2 weeks for more money. This house was right on quite a fast main road, but because of the work I’d done and how it was presented, it sold very quickly.
I’d much rather live near this dual carriageway or even near a motorway than live next to a busy A-road or on a busy junction where vehicles are slowing down and accelerating away or even the B-road I lived on, as these are far noisier.
Think about your pets when considering buying a property on a main road
If you have pets, especially if you have cats, you should carefully consider whether to buy a house on a main road. Cats that live in houses on main roads are more likely to get killed by passing cars. Also, you need to be careful if you have a dog that can sometimes escape and get hit by cars on busy main roads too.
If your cat is a house cat, this will not cause a problem, as the cat will not be wondering onto the busy road. But you can also cat-proof the garden to prevent your cat from straying away from your house.
Final thoughts on buying a house on a main road
Before you buy a house on a main road, make sure to visit at rush hour time to see how the traffic is then. You may not like it if the road you live on is back-up with congested traffic, as this will make it difficult to leave your house.
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