Natural amenities are positively related to farm real estate values

A chart showing the average farm real estate values and natural amenities in 2008.

Research suggests that like other land values, farmland values are influenced by the amount and nature of natural amenities, such as scenic views and varied terrain that attract people to an area. ERS' analysis of population changes suggests that high-amenity counties next to metropolitan areas are the most desirable places to live, so high-amenity areas could increase the development value of the land. The Natural Amenities Scale offers a quantitative measure of landscape amenities at the county level for the contiguous United States. The scale, ranging from 1 (low amenity) to 7 (high amenity), is constructed based on the notion that positive natural amenities include mild climate, varied topography, and proximity to surface water, including ponds, lakes, and shoreline. Based on data from 2008, high levels of natural amenities have a large positive effect on farm real estate values, with a mean value per acre of $58,732 at the highest level of the index value. At the lowest levels of natural amenities, mean values are $3,351 per acre. This chart is found in Trends in U.S. Farmland Values and Ownership, EIB-92, February 2012.

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