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The Impact of Density Rezoning in a Small College Town


In 2012, the City of Whitewater, WI, considered the “R-2A” zoning overlay. R-2A designation allows more than three unrelated individuals to reside in a single household, and was developed throughout 2012 and 2013, and approved in 2014 for a neighborhood near the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. This inquiry uses the sample of all home sales in Whitewater for years 2000 to 2018, with hedonic analysis of sales price applied across different time periods to determine the impact of the overlay. The analysis finds the area had no unique financial value prior to the R-2A designation, with an overall 12% premium due to the R-2A designation. Some evidence suggests anticipatory over-bidding of up to 20% for 2012–2014. Other evidence suggesting an expanding R-2A effect over time, as a premium for R-2A homes close to the University emerged for 2014–2018, and another peak overall R-2A effect occurred in 2019 (19%). Additionally, sales within the R-2A overlay became concentrated near the University over time. In general, the evidence suggests the zoning change achieved the desired effects of expanding student housing near campus while enhancing home values.

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Fig. 1


  1. Note this result cannot be attributed to collinearity with another independent variable, as the largest correlation coefficient for the number of bathrooms variable is .099 with house age.


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Correspondence to Russ Kashian.

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Kashian, R., Tittle, R. & Cliff, S. The Impact of Density Rezoning in a Small College Town. J Real Estate Finan Econ 61, 275–287 (2020).

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  • Residential zoning
  • Hedonic analysis’ proximity premium