Housing price dynamics within a metropolitan area
This paper analyzes the pattern of cross-sectional house price appreciation in the Boston metropolitan area from 1982 to 1994. The empirical results are consistent with many of the predictions of a standard urban model in which towns have a fixed set of locational attributes and amenities. In particular, the evidence suggests that house prices in towns with a large share of residents working in the manufacturing sector in 1980 grew less quickly in the ensuing years when aggregate manufacturing employment fell. As baby boomers moved into middle age, house values appreciated faster in towns with a larger initial percentage of middle-aged residents. Housing values rose more slowly in towns that allowed additional construction, and values rose faster in towns closer to Boston. Finally, as fewer families had children who attended public schools statewide, the price premium associated with housing in towns with good schools fell. All of these findings support the view that town amenities and public services are not easily replicated or quickly adaptable to shifts in demand, even within a metropolitan area.
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