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Semiparametric estimation of land price gradients using large data sets


  • Kevin A. Bryan
  • Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte


The exact nature of land price gradients, the surface describing how land prices change with location, can be difficult to uncover. This is particularly true for cities with few vacant lots or in more rural regions where the number of land sales in a given area is limited. This article outlines a semiparametric method to construct the land price surface given a large set of residential property sales, and investigates properties of this surface in Richmond, Virginia, and three surrounding counties. Despite recent concentrations of housing in suburban areas, we find that Richmond remains largely a monocentric city. Nevertheless, the price surface that we estimate features a complex topography, and high prices near suburban interstates and lakes are clearly evident.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin A. Bryan & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 2009. "Semiparametric estimation of land price gradients using large data sets," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 53-74.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedreq:y:2009:i:win:p:53-74:n:v.95no.1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alex Anas & Richard Arnott & Kenneth A. Small, 1998. "Urban Spatial Structure," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1426-1464, September.
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    3. Fujita,Masahisa, 1991. "Urban Economic Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521396455, March.
    4. Giuliano, Genevieve & Small, Kenneth A., 1991. "Subcenters in the Los Angeles region," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 163-182, July.
    5. Yatchew, A., 1997. "An elementary estimator of the partial linear model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 135-143, December.
    6. John DiNardo & Justin L. Tobias, 2001. "Nonparametric Density and Regression Estimation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 11-28, Fall.
    7. Colwell, Peter F. & Munneke, Henry J., 1997. "The Structure of Urban Land Prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 321-336, May.
    8. McMillen, Daniel P., 2001. "Nonparametric Employment Subcenter Identification," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 448-473, November.
    9. Warren R. Seyfried, 1963. "The Centrality of Urban Land Values," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3), pages 275-284.
    10. Redfearn, Christian L., 2007. "The topography of metropolitan employment: Identifying centers of employment in a polycentric urban area," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 519-541, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nichols, Joseph B. & Oliner, Stephen D. & Mulhall, Michael R., 2013. "Swings in commercial and residential land prices in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 57-76.
    2. Jens Kolbe & Rainer Schulz & Martin Wersing & Axel Werwatz, 2015. "Identifying Berlin’s land value map using adaptive weights smoothing," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 767-790, September.
    3. Joseph B. Nichols & Stephen D. Oliner & Michael R. Mulhall, 2010. "Commercial and residential land prices across the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-16, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).


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