Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Silver lining to the credit crunch

From the NY Times:

From the Florida Everglades to the bluffs overlooking the Deschutes River in Oregon, conservationists are snapping up prime property for preservation, often at a fraction of what the asking price was at the real estate market’s height.

The victories reveal a green lining of sorts in a credit crisis that has depressed real estate prices, prompted foreclosures and derailed development projects across the nation.

The purchases by conservationists and state and local governments assure that thousands of acres will be put aside in perpetuity for parks, watershed protection or simply preservation of open space.

Although the real estate bubble burst in 2008, it was only in the last 6 to 12 months that many developers and banks became desperate enough to slash prices deeply enough for the trusts, Mr. Rogers and several other conservationists said.

In many cases, the preservation deals are negotiated with banks that have foreclosed on property and are eager to get bad assets off the books. the long run, said Mr. Rogers of the Trust for Public Land, even developers recognize that newly protected lands can have a positive effect on real estate prices.

“Developers have long seen that conserved land next to a development adds value,” he said. “There are genuine economic benefits for everyone that will come out of this.”

Conserved land adds value? Holy cow! And here we are zoning areas so that backyards can be subdivided in order to build crap in them...

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