Impacts of Regional Parks on Property Values in Texas
Keywords:Regional parks, property prices, hedonic analysis
AbstractThe ability to place dollar estimates on the values and benefits provided by parks is becoming increasingly vital to public park providers as competition for local, state, and national resources continues to intensify. One way of calculating at least a portion of this value is the hedonic pricing method, a technique that enables the estimation of the impact of one or more parks on the prices of surrounding properties. In this study, the hedonic pricing method is applied to four large parks in Bastrop County, near Austin, Texas. The study of the property price impacts of regional and rural, rather than traditional urban, parks has been especially limited in the literature, yet it is these spaces that are often most at threat from continued suburbanization and other forms of urban sprawl.Analysis of the four parks—both individually and as a group—revealed that these large, public open spaces had no statistically significant impact on property prices in the rural county in which they are located. Potential explanations for this lack of significance include the relatively large amount of undeveloped open space (whether publicly or privately owned) in the area, as well as the rather large size of lots compared to those in the typical American city. Combined, these factors suggest that the premium associated with living in close proximity to a public open space in a predominantly rural area might be limited by the large supply of this commodity. As suburban development continues to spread outward from Austin, however, and the quantity of truly rural land continues to be diminished, it seems likely that the willingness of Bastrop County residents to pay a property price premium for a home proximate to one of the four parks analyzed may increase. Longitudinal analysis of the magnitude and composition of property prices over an extended period would enable closer examination of this hypothesis. For land managers, whether working in urban or rural settings, these results suggest the need to carefully monitor changes in the amount and distribution of public open space available to their constituents. The association of public open space with an increase in surrounding property prices also provides a useful argument in favor of the designation or continued protection of such spaces, most notably as a result of the increase in property tax revenues that they generate for the local taxing entities.
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