Home Values And Wildlife Refuges: Is There a Correlation?

Are home values influenced by their proximity to a National Wildlife Refuge? With 556 National Wildlife Refuges in existence today, a study released in May by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adds a new twist for the real estate valuation industry. This report cited that homes near urban areas and refuges more often increase home values overall in the area. How is this possible? Here is a little information to help explain:

According to the study, conducted for the Service by economic researchers at North Carolina State University, homes located within half a mile of a refuge and within eight miles of an urban center were found to have higher home values of roughly:

  • Seven to nine percent in the Southeast;
  • Four to five percent in the Northeast; and
  • Three to six percent in the California/Nevada region.


Calculated in 2000 dollars, the 14 refuges in the Southeast examined in the study added $122 million to local property values. The 11 refuges studied in the Northeast added $95 million. The 11 refuges studied in California/Nevada added $83 million.

The researchers surmised that refuges boost property values in the selected regions because refuges protect against future development while preserving scenic vistas and other “natural amenity benefits associated with open spaces.”

Martha Nudel & Claire Cassel \ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Home Values Higher near National Wildlife Refuges, New Study Finds

May 30, 2012 – http://onlinepressroom.net/fws/

Another proposed reason for the impact on home values is tourism.  The National Wildlife Refuge System observed “more than 34.8 million visits to refuges in fiscal year 2006 generated $1.7 billion in sales, almost 27,000 jobs, and $542.8 million in employment income in regional economies.” These factors have caused an increase in housing needs in these areas.

Demand for homes in these areas contributed to the stabilization and increase in property values.  Keep your eyes open for an updated analysis scheduled for 2013 and, in the mean time, when valuing properties in these areas please take a moment to review the property’s proximity to the refuge, amount of tourism generated, and home value trends in the immediate neighborhood to decide if the subject property or any comps are affected by the refuge area. If there is an impact, be sure to note it in your report and make adjustments for location for your customers.

To find the refuges in your area, go to: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/refugeLocatorMaps/index.html


About saraschlosser

Sara Schlosser is the Community Manager at InsideValuation.

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