Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
As global temperatures continue to rise, it is expected that there will be a reduction in natural snowfall in the mountain regions of North America. Many ski area industry experts warn that snow depth will decline by at least 25% in the next decade. For the 38 states that add value to their state economies through the winter tourism industry and the 191,000 jobs that are supported by the winter sport industry, the concern is real and growing. Lower than average snow years lead to an immediate and significant decrease in skier visits and therefore consumer demand for related goods and services in local communities. One of the most telling factors of an areas’ economic health is home prices, which reflect demand for housing in the area. This study will explore how a decrease in snowfall has will impacted home prices in communities surrounding ski areas.
This study used semi-logarithmic regression analysis on all counties in the 9 Northeastern states from 1996-2019 to determine the impact of ski resort proximity and annual snowfall on home prices. The results of this study show that the number of ski resorts in county i and winter precipitation have no statistically significant impact on median home prices or average home prices per square foot. In fact, mountain resort presence has a significant negative significant impact on average home prices per square foot, but no statistically significant impact on median home prices. This study shows that in the Northeast, snowfall may have no significant impact on home prices, however the presence of a mountain can have negative effects on average home values per square foot, decreasing values by 10.3%.
As snowfall decreases, demand for ski areas decreases and local ski resorts are often forced to lay off seasonal or full-time workers. This increase in unemployment correlates to a 1.5% decrease in home prices, which may play into the overall decrease in home prices when a mountain is present. Policymakers should be aware of this implication as negative changes in precipitation could largely effect the local economy’s consumer demand, income and unemployment rates and could be cause for tax reforms or budgetary spending changes for the area.
Benneyan, Hadley, "The Impact of Snowfall on Home Prices: A Study of Northeastern Ski Resort Towns" (2019). Economics Student Theses and Capstone Projects. 133.