The Effect of Conservation Activity on Surrounding Land Prices
This paper presents an empirical analysis of the structure of land prices both before and after land conservation occurs. Using data describing 12 years of vacant land transactions in Buncombe County, North Carolina, we find that fee simple conservations, as opposed to conservation easements, occur in higher-priced areas, but that lower-valued parcels within these areas are selected for conservation. We find positive price effects from land conservation of 46%. This premium declines with distance from the conserved parcel but does so to a lesser extent with easements, perhaps suggesting the market’s perception that conservation easements are more permanent than parcels conserved in fee.
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