A new study by North Carolina State University researchers has found that homes near wildlife reserves have higher property values than those farther away from a reserve.
This finding may seem rather obvious to many, as the benefits of having nearby scenic views and abundant flora and fauna around kind of speak for themselves. However, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which released the report, “this is the first national study to analyze national wildlife refuges’ impact on land values”. I could take a wild guess and say that it would almost certainly be the same in other heavily industrialized countries.
The study found that for homes closer than a half–mile from a wildlife reserve, and within eight miles of a city centre, real estate values were 7 to 9 percent higher in the Southeast of the country. For the Northeast, the values were 4 to 5 percent higher. In California and Nevada, values were 3 to 6 percent higher. From all the wildlife reserves taken into account, $300 million was found to be added to local real estate values.
Funnily enough, the study has emerged just as the future of protected wildlife reserves has started to come under fire from some House Republicans. Some would rather see federal land assets sold off to raise money and encourage greater development. Again, that is also a similar story in many countries.
In addition to raising home values, the Department of the Interior has found that U.S. wildlife reserves also contributed $4 billion to the domestic economy, and supported 32,000 jobs in 2010 alone. In an analysis of the economic impact of wildlife reserves in 2006, the Fish and Wildlife Service found there were 34.8 million visits to U.S. wildlife reserves.
To me, it certainly doesn’t sound like a great idea to sell some of them off to further urban development. In fact, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea to try and live closer to a nature reserve, without adding pressure to mow more of it down to build more houses in the process, that is. Therein lies the dilemma.