Urban populations value different types of natural amenities, such as parks, golf courses, wetlands, and river corridors. However, the particular valued features of natural amenities remain unclear. This research developed and used a novel set of data on amenity characteristics to identify what features contribute to value. Topics explored in the research included 1) how homebuyers valued manmade recreation environments, and 2) whether homebuyers valued the condition of the vegetation in their nearest riparian corridor or are indifferent to quality differentials in natural environments.
The effect of riparian corridors and parcel greenness on house prices in Tucson, Arizona was determined by using remote sensing vegetation indices. The results of the hedonic property price analysis showed that vegetation vigor and percent ground cover (two characteristics measured by vegetation indices) were significant factors in explaining house price variation in Tucson.
The results of this research show that homebuyers are willing to pay 5.3 percent and 5 percent more for an equivalent home, respectively, for a 10 percent increase in greenness at the parcel and nearest riparian corridor. Homebuyers have distinct preferences between riparian species, valuing hydro and mesoriparian species, such as cottonwoods and mesquites, most highly. Homebuyers are also willing to pay more for a home that is located near a riparian corridor with greater vegetation volume and species richness.
The riparian corridor adds considerable value to private property values in Tucson, specifically those sections of the corridor that support abundant native tree species. Additionally, homebuyers distinguish between natural and manmade amenities. Therefore, accurate property assessment requires that attention be paid to the specific services and values that various types of vegetated space provide.
Acharya, G. and L. Bennett. 2001. Valuing Open Space and Land-Use Patterns in Urban Watersheds. Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 22(2-3): 221-37.
Bark-Hodgins, R., D. Osgood, and B. Colby. 2006. Remotely sensed proxies for environmental amenities in hedonic analysis: what does green mean? In Environmental Valuation: Intraregional and Interregional Perspective, Edited J. I. Carruthers and B. Mundy. Ashgate, 191-210. Aldershot, England ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate.
Benson, E., J. Hansen, J. Arthur, L. Schwartz, and G. Smersh. 1998. Pricing residential amenities: the value of a view. Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 16: 55-73.
Colby, B. and S. Wishart. 2002. Quantifying the Influence of Desert Riparian Areas on Residential Property Values. The Appraisal Journal, LXX (3): 304-308.