Short Answer: It will lower real estate values. There is already a lot of info about this to be found out there on the 'net.
My wife and I have started looking for a piece of property to buy somewhere closer to my job in Cary NC. They just slid legislation authorizing hydraulic fracturing through our legislature in record time, with almost zero scientific research or well testing performed. Kind of hard to prove an increase in ppm of toxic chemicals in well water if you don't have any "before" water tests to compare with.
But I digress.
Read around on the net or just think about it some. Property values are going to decrease. It is already happening in lots of other places that this is going on. Here in NC, idiots are lining up by the thousands to sign drilling leases because they want that money the gas companies will pay them. Some have even been quoted in various news stories saying things to the effect of, they don't CARE whether their wells get poisoned by the drilling or what will happen to their neighbors around them, because they're using the $$ they get from signing the the drilling lease to pay off their mortgage and move somewhere else.
Wait until the problems start happening. (you know, the same problems that happen everywhere else fracking is allowed). When people's wells get poisoned and the water isn't safe to drink or even wash your clothes in, who is going to buy your house for what you have "in" it?
Oh, and then there's the finer points of this legislation they passed here in NC. Let's say YOU have educated yourself about fracking and don't want to allow them to drill on your property. But just ONE of your neighbors on adjoining property signs a drilling lease:
1) its going to poison your well anyway - the water you get from your well is the result of underground FLOW of water...
2) The law can MAKE you let them drill horizontally under your property and harvest your minerals and natural gas ANYWAY
3) Because you RESISTED them, they don't have to compensate you as much or AT ALL (sorry, the text is a little vague here) for the natural gas they extract from your property
It is for reasons such as the above and others that a decrease in property value where fracking is happening is a known problem. And also why a growing number of mortgage lenders may have a serious problem with you signing a drilling lease, or lending on property where the mineral rights don't come with the property. Not to mention the issues with title insurance.
My wife and I really don't know what to do at this point. We want and need to sell the house we live in now because it is too far away from my job (or other jobs in this line of work), but where in NC can we buy a house outside of city limits that we won't have to worry about fracking destroying our investment or our lives?