Study: Open space boosts home values

A home in or near undeveloped land suggests more than just a pleasant country atmosphere. It could mean serious money.

A Colorado State University study, which included several Mesa County subdivisions, showed that homes in neighborhoods that incorporate protected open space command sale prices 20 to 29 percent higher than comparable properties.

The effect was less marked in Mesa County, but significant nonetheless, authors said.

The study took care to eliminate other variables — such as the number of bedrooms, pools, air conditioning and other amenities —  to identify otherwise comparable properties, said Sarah E. Reed, one of the principal investigators for the study.

The study reveals that “people are willing to pay more to live in subdivisions that incorporate conservation elements,” said Reed, a faculty affiliate in the Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Department at CSU and associate conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society.

In Mesa County, the increase in the sales price of homes in conservation development subdivisions was 12 to 19 percent.

“This is slightly lower than the statewide average of 20 to 29 percent, but still a substantial and statistically significant increase in sales price,” Reed said.

It also might offer an “extra incentive for developers, real estate professionals and lending institutions to market this type of development,” Reed said.

Several parts of the state were included because the authors wanted a wide variety of demographic, geographic and economic conditions from across the state, Reed said.

Working with the Mesa County Planning Division, the authors documented a total of 20 conservation development subdivisions in Mesa County, with a total of 204 homes and lots.

The authors narrowed the Mesa County portion of the study to nine conservation development subdivisions with a total of 125 homes and lots and compared them to 21 conventional subdivisions with a total of 484 homes and lots. The conventional subdivisions were as close and as similar as possible to the conservation development subdivisions.

The study, which was funded by the National Association of Realtors and CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, evaluated home sales in more than 200 developments across Colorado and has generated a lot of interest among developers, planners and others affiliated with the real estate industry, Reed said.

The study, which was funded by the National Association of Realtors and CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, evaluated home sales in more than 200 developments across Colorado.

Researchers studied Chaffee, Douglas, Larimer, Mesa and Routt counties as a representative sample and because they had significant numbers of conservation developments.


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