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CHICAGO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Global warming could be the next factor to affect property values, at least in areas near ski resorts, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Homes in ski resort areas where winter temperatures are already hovering near the crucial freezing mark needed for snow could suffer price declines as great as 56 percent if average temperatures warm by 2 degrees Celsius (about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the San Francisco Fed said in its latest economic letter.
By contrast, house prices in resorts where extremely cold weather is now the norm could gain as the number of unpleasant days declines in favor of days that are more enjoyable for hitting the slopes, said a team led by Rob Valletta, economist and research advisor at the San Francisco Fed.
Less snow, more rain and generally lower-quality conditions for skiing and snowboarding have been apparent in the western areas of North America for decades, and conditions stand to get worse as temperatures creep up.
The researchers also said that any benefits from the potential flipside — a longer season for, say, mountain-biking — were likely to be minor.
A warming of temperatures by 2C, which is well within the range of current environmental projections, could cause the value of homes near ski resorts in the western United States to fall by an average of 24 percent, the study found.
In areas where winter temperatures are already often close to the freezing mark, home values could decline as much as 31 percent to 56 percent. That would include ski centers in parts of New Mexico, Idaho, Montana and Arizona, the study said.
By contrast, resorts with more favorable climates, such as many of those in Colorado, will likely see little change in housing values. (Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Leslie Adler)