Why Homes With Open Space Command Big Bucks

Wall Street Journal -- Call it the flora-and-fauna effect: Home buyers will pay a premium to live near open, undeveloped land. So much for good neighbors.

That's the conclusion of a Colorado State University study of home prices in conservation developments, where residential real estate is limited and a substantial amount of land, usually 50% to 70%, is set aside as open space. "That could mean wildlife habitats, agricultural lands, important cultural sites, open space for scenic vistas," says Sarah Reed, co-author of the study and associate conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Increasing lot size in an undesignated conservation development raised the market price by 38 cents per square foot or $16,662 per acre, researchers found. In nonconservation developments, a bigger lot size translated to only 9 cents per square foot, or $4,062 per acre. The study, funded by the National Association of Realtors and CSU's School of Global Environmental Sustainability, was published in December 2012 in the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate. (Full Story)