The Internal and External Impact of Historical Designation on Property Values

  • N. Edward Coulson
  • Robin M. Leichenko


Designation of historic properties and historic districts is increasingly used as a means to revive central-city neighborhoods and to promote urban economic development. While preservation activities are thought to generate positive externalities for surrounding neighborhoods, these external effects have been difficult to quantify. Using a database of tax-appraisal records for residential properties in Abilene, Texas, this study demonstrates that there are significant, positive externalities associated with historic designation. We perform simple cost-benefit calculations and find that the internal and external benefits more than outweigh the (nonzero) costs associated with historical designation. Moreover, from the city of Abilene's perspective the property-tax incentives provided to historic reinvestment are outweighed by the added property-tax revenue created by the increased value.

historic preservation property values 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Edward Coulson
    • 1
  • Robin M. Leichenko
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Center for Urban Policy ResearchRutgers UniversityNew Brunswick

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