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Major Google Air Quality Partnership May Soon Influence Home Pricing Decisions

by James F. McClister

Understanding the Impacts

According to a the New York University Langone Medical Center, which studied 300,000 NYC residents, the area’s poor air quality threatened to restrict arteries to the brain, a condition known as carotid artery stenosis. In the dirtiest parts of the city, the risk of blockages rose by nearly 25 percent.

“For every 1 microgram increase in air pollution, your risk of carotid artery stenosis increases 9 percent,” said the study’s author, Dr. Jonathan Newman, who published the report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, in an interview with the Daily News. Federal health officials say humans can safely tolerate 12 micrograms.

Still, determining the true impact of air quality on property values is unlikely to be fully realized until that information is readily available to the public.

Aclima and Google intend to expand their mapping efforts to San Francisco in the fall, working with communities and scientists to fully realize the practical applications of the new tool. And as the program finds its legs and moves forward, researchers could soon find the data necessary to establish more substantial and quantitative links between air quality and home values. Chegut emphasized the importance of analyzing these results, but asserted that any “micro-data” available to consumers will influence pricing decisions.

“What is clear is that micro-data of any kind will enable enhanced measurement of housing characteristics enabling homebuyers to take information into their pricing decisions more efficiently,” she said. “In this way, micro-data gives more transparency to the market place and helps homebuyers enhance their property buying decisions. This can have an impact in identifying more clearly ‘property stars’ and ‘property laggards,’ which could have pricing impacts.”

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