From the Ottawa Citizen:
Super mailbox could mean less than super sale price
Community mailboxes, which Canada Post plans on rolling out across the country, could end up lowering the value of your home, according to a report prepared for the union that represents postal workers.
As Canada Post phases out home delivery of mail and moves to community mailboxes, there is debate among real estate experts on how that switch might affect property values.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers provided the Financial Post with an internal document, prepared by a professional appraiser, on the impact the mailboxes might have on property values. CUPW would not provide the name of the appraiser who wrote the report.
“It is my professional opinion that community mailbox will have a negative impact on demand and pricing for residential homes,” says the appraiser’s report. “The extent of the impact on market value is speculative and anecdotal at this stage, and difficult to quantify without further research and study.”
The report was completed in March 2014, four months after Canada Post announced it planned to end home delivery in urban areas as part of a five-year plan. The Crown corporation said in February it would begin rolling out the plan in 11 communities this fall, including parts of Calgary, Halifax and Oakville, Ont.
Denis Lemelin, CUPW national president, said the union is fighting the plan because it means 6,000 to 8,000 jobs, but also because it is destroying an important service to the public. He said much of the plan has yet to be thought out by Canada Post, including the impact on home values and where the community mailboxes will go in densely populated urban areas.
The report says an appraiser looking at a home with a community mailbox would make an adjustment comparable to a home adjacent to a rail or hydro corridor.
“Community mailboxes have been part of the landscape since the 1980s and there hasn’t been an impact on value,” said Jon Hamilton, a spokesperson of Canada Post.
But Keith Lancastle, chief executive officer of the Appraisal Institute of Canada, said there’s no question if a community mailbox is in front of your house it will be marked down as factor affecting price on most appraisals. However, he said in a hot market selling a newly renovated house, the impact on the final selling price would be negligible.
“(Some markets), you put a sign up today and by Thursday it is sold. It’s that hot,” he said.
He said someone with a disability might want to be close to a community mailbox because they don’t want to have to walk far to get their mail. “They might consider paying a premium,” says Lancastle.
David Batori, a long-term broker with Re/Max Hallmark who sells a lot of property in fairly dense pockets of midtown Toronto, says he’d fight any attempt to put a mailbox in front of his house.
“You’ve got traffic issues. I want to be four or five houses away from one of these things for it not to have an impact (on price),” says the real estate agent. “I’d fight one of these things tooth and nail.”