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Open space boosts home values, report says

Conscience Point National Wildlife Refuge in North Sea.

Conscience Point National Wildlife Refuge in North Sea. (Feb. 27, 2003) Credit: Newsday File/Bill Davis

A new study quantifies what home buyers and brokers have long suspected: living near a protected swath of open space boosts home values.

In metropolitan areas in the Northeast, proximity to a national wildlife refuge increases home values by 4 to 5 percent, according to a study by North Carolina State University’s Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy, released this week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The study examined 93 federally protected refuges, including two on Long Island: the Conscience Point National Wildlife Refuge (above) in the Town of Southampton and the Elizabeth Alexandra Morton refuge in Sag Harbor.

The study's release comes as the wildlife service faces a proposal by House Republicans to sell off federal lands for development.

Land protected by states or local communities is likely to have a similar effect on home values, said Laura Taylor, lead author of the study. “I wouldn’t consider a refuge any different from open space a local community might protect,” she said. “As long as it’s permanently protected in a natural state, our research would indicate that there’s going to be benefits to neighboring homes,” she said.


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