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New trend: High-end home communities built around nature preserves

Fall Creek Nature Preserve in western Indiana. HDR imageAccording to the Wall Street Journal, a growing number of high-end home communities are being built around large nature preserves. Why, you ask? Because today’s developers see nature preserves as relatively low-cost amenities that are highly valued by buyers today.

Forget about golf, today’s home builders and buyers are looking at nature preserves to replace the amenity that used to serve as the hub for many luxury developments: the sprawling golf course. Golf courses’ popularity surged in the 1990s because “developers could charge 10% to 25% more over a non-golf development,” said Ed McMahon, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute.

Today, the game of golf is losing popularity, especially as a location for a home. As of January, there were 15,372 golf courses in the U.S., down over 4% from 2005, according to the National Golf Foundation. Still, research has shown people want to live near green space and nature preserves fit that bill.

How can homebuyers be sure that a particular nature preserve is protected? Check to make certain it is held in a legal designation known as a conservation easement, a new tax legislation signed at the beginning of the year that renewed generous federal tax breaks for landowners who permanently preserve scenic, environmentally sensitive or historical properties.

The preservation technique is a binding agreement, typically made between a landowner and a nonprofit group called a land trust that places development restrictions on the property.
Take a tour of some luxury communities with nature preserves and you’ll see why luxury home hunters are being drawn to live in unspoiled nature.

Although you won’t find many communities built around nature preserves here in Santa Barbara, you can still enjoy living among unspoiled nature. High-end homes in Santa Barbara, Montecito or the surrounding communities are known for their breathtaking beach and mountain views and boast open spaces. If you are ready to see what’s on the market right now, please call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com. I’ll also happily show you my pocket listings.

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