Delivering bad news on boxes

Appraisal says they'll put dent in house prices

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Canada Post's new super-mailboxes will make a dent in property values and depress the price of houses located near them, warns an internal document released by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/09/2014 (3059 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Canada Post’s new super-mailboxes will make a dent in property values and depress the price of houses located near them, warns an internal document released by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The internal document is a real estate appraisal commissioned by the union behind a door-to-door campaign against the decision to replace home delivery with the mailboxes — for 12,400 residents this fall in Winnipeg alone. The CUPW represents thousands of letter carriers.

Now they have some professional backup, and while it’s too late to stop the boxes to be installed in October, it’s a warning property owners will likely take to heart.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A super-mailbox is set up in the Tyndall Park neighbourhood. The postal workers union is campaigning against them.

“It is my professional opinion that community mailboxes will have a negative impact on both demand and pricing for residential homes,” concludes a real estate appraisal prepared for the union.

The union released the six-page document to the Free Press, but withheld the name of the appraiser who wrote the report.

It notes noise and litter at the mailboxes are “obvious deterrents.” Photos of the super-mailboxes already serving four million Canadians underscore other issues, including congestion from traffic, debris, loss of privacy and even vandalism.

All that adds up to bad news for property owners.

The boxes, the appraisal says, produce sales effects similar to nearby railway tracks and hydro corridors, making it harder for homeowners to find potential buyers.

“If a prospective buyer had a choice between two identical residential homes on the same street, one with a community mailbox and the other without, the buyer would likely select the home without the mailbox,” the appraisal noted.

In Winnipeg, the union has won support from community groups concerned for shut-ins and frail and elderly residents, all of whom, it says, will have a hard time collecting mail once home delivery stops.

The union’s national director for the Prairie region said Wednesday plunking super-mailboxes on boulevards and front yards will create hassles for homeowners.

“In newer subdivisions, planners make space for them, but to stick them in the middle of downtown neighbourhoods in cities like Winnipeg, Toronto and Calgary, that’s a different beast,” Gord Fischer said.

“All of a sudden you’ve got a messy old box in front of your house, with the extra litter, traffic and security problems. Those all contribute to a drop in prices.”

‘It is my professional opinion that community mailboxes will have a negative impact on both demand and pricing for residential homes’

Canada Post says super-mailboxes make economic sense, with savings of $400 million to $500 million a year, set against rising demand for parcel service and a steady decline in regular letter delivery.

With boxes now being installed in cities such as Winnipeg, the Crown corporation has received no complaints.

“Community mailboxes have been serving Canadians for 30 years with no issues. There’s no evidence to suggest there’s any impact on property values,” Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said from Ottawa.

One Winnipeg real estate broker said the union’s appraisal makes sense to him.

“I wouldn’t necessarily want a house across the street from one of them,” said Allan Asplin, owner of the Judy Lindsay Real Estate Team.

“It’ll be one of those things and I can hear it already. Sellers will say it’s easy to get to your mail and we will have buyers who say they don’t want it because the mailbox is too close,” Asplin said.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

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