Housing boom versus bust
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Part of the fallout from the economic downturn and eventual Great Recession of the late 2000’s was the collapse of housing markets around the country. This research analyzed market data to determine whether homebuyers changed their response to locally available natural amenities. Public policies designed to conserve environmentally sensitive lands through wetland preservation and land conservation tax credits are justified based on a cost-benefit analysis. If homebuyer preferences for the natural amenities had changed after 2008, the economic rationale for these policies may no longer hold. The study area focused on Chatham County, Georgia, an area with abundant saltwater marshlands. Using four comparison methods, including difference-in-differences and repeat sales analysis, there is no evidence to suggest that homebuyers changed their relative valuation of marshland during the bust period. These results contradict previous studies that found declines in homebuyers’ valuations of natural amenities.