Measuring the Property-Value Effects of Local Land Use and Preservation Referenda

Martin D. Heintzelman


This paper examines a Massachusetts policy that encourages communities to raise money through referenda for preservation and affordable housing. I use difference-indifferences, fixed effects, and quantile regression to compare home prices before and after such referenda in two towns. I include covariates representing existing land uses, zoning, and historic resources to estimate the value of these amenities. Standard regression techniques indicate weak effects of the referenda, while the estimated coefficients on land use and historic preservation confirm that preservation has a positive effect on property values. The quantile regression sheds light on some heterogeneity that goes unnoticed in standard regression results. (JEL Q24, R14)

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