The Land Value Gradient in a (Nearly) Collapsed Urban Real Estate Market

Timothy R. Hodge, Gary Sands and Mark Skidmore


This article uses data on 3,788 vacant land sales to explore the pattern of land values in the city of Detroit, Michigan. The analysis provides evidence of a U-shaped land value gradient. Land values are relatively high in and near the central business district (CBD), but the land value gradient is very steep; estimated land values drop precipitously to less than $1,000 for typical sized lot in a vast “donut” area surrounding the CBD. However, land values begin to rise near the city’s border. (JEL R14)

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