Home prices in neighborhoods that incorporate conservation development are 20 to 29 percent higher than in neighborhoods without designated protected space, according to a recent study from Colorado State University.

The study defined conservation development as “an approach to the design, construction, and stewardship of a development that protects natural resources while also providing social and economic benefits to people.”

Researchers surveyed more than 200 neighborhood developments in Colorado’s Chaffee, Douglas, Larimer, Mesa, and Routt counties, comparing home prices in neighborhoods with conservation projects with home prices in neighborhoods without conservation projects.

On average, home prices were about 20 to 29 percent higher in neighborhoods with conservation projects. However, prices did vary from county to county with protected space in some counties correlating with about 9 percent hikes in prices and in other counties about 51 percent hikes.

“Our study shows that people are willing to pay more to live in subdivisions that incorporate conservation elements,” said Sarah Reed, co-author of the study.

Reed suggests this new evidence “may provide an extra incentive for developers, real estate professionals, and lending institutions to market this type of development.”

Not only did the study find price increased in neighborhoods with protected land, but it also observed higher sales volumes overall in these neighborhoods, illustrating that higher prices are not a deterrent for these developments.

The study, which was funded by the National Association of Realtors and Colorado State University’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, observed sales that took place between 1998 and 2011.

The researchers intend to determine next whether conservation developments accomplish their proclaimed environmental goals.