Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 89–114 | Cite as

The market value of cultural heritage in urban areas: an application of spatial hedonic pricing

Original Article


The current literature often values intangible goods like cultural heritage by applying stated preference methods. In recent years, however, the increasing availability of large databases on real estate transactions and listed prices has opened up new research possibilities and has reduced various existing barriers to applications of conventional (spatial) hedonic analysis to the real estate market. The present paper provides one of the first applications using a spatial autoregressive model to investigate the impact of cultural heritage—in particular, listed buildings and historic–cultural sites (or historic landmarks)—on the value of real estate in cities. In addition, this paper suggests a novel way of specifying the spatial weight matrix—only prices of sold houses influence current price—in identifying the spatial dependency effects between sold properties. The empirical application in the present study concerns the Dutch urban area of Zaanstad, a historic area for which over a long period of more than 20 years detailed information on individual dwellings, and their market prices are available in a GIS context. In this paper, the effect of cultural heritage is analysed in three complementary ways. First, we measure the effect of a listed building on its market price in the relevant area concerned. Secondly, we investigate the value that listed heritage has on nearby property. And finally, we estimate the effect of historic–cultural sites on real estate prices. We find that, to purchase a listed building, buyers are willing to pay an additional 26.9 %, while surrounding houses are worth an extra 0.28 % for each additional listed building within a 50-m radius. Houses sold within a conservation area appear to gain a premium of 26.4 % which confirms the existence of a ‘historic ensemble’ effect.


Cultural heritage Listed building Valuation methods Stated preference methods Hedonic prices Spatial statistics Spatial autocorrelation Historic buildings 

JEL Classification

C210 R200 



We would like to thank the Dutch Association of Real Estate Brokers (NVM) for making available their data on house transactions for this study. Furthermore, we thank the Land Registration Office (Kadaster) for providing complete data on the heritage status. This paper was written in the context of the CLUE cultural heritage research programme at the VU University Amsterdam, and the NICIS project on the ‘Economic valuation of cultural heritage’. The authors would like to thank James LeSage along with two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Spatial EconomicsVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.A. Mickiewicz UniversityPoznanPoland

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