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Architectural Design and the Value of Housing in Riga, Latvia


  • Steven Plaut

    () (Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israe)

  • Egita Uzulena

    () (Department of Economics, Central European University, Budapest 1050, Hungary)


Architectural design has generally not been included in estimations of hedonic pricing models and the reason is no doubt the difficulty in capturing it in a usable measurement variable. It is usually too idiosyncratic and heterogeneous to “sum up” easily and introduce as an explanatory variable. However, in some housing markets, architectural design consists of a limited number of standardized “prototypes”, which can then be used as explanatory variables in hedonic estimations. Such is the case for Riga, Latvia, where almost the entire housing stock fits into about a score of fairly standardized architectural design types. This paper is an empirical analysis of the Riga housing market, which only became a “market” in a meaningful sense after the collapse of the Soviet regime in Latvia. The paper analyzes a set of about 3500 transactions, all from recent years. We estimate the elasticity of housing value with respect to size of housing units and some other physical features, and the value of the different architectural designs, controlling for location. This is one of the first hedonic or microeconomic analyses of housing values in any post-Soviet transitional economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Plaut & Egita Uzulena, 2006. "Architectural Design and the Value of Housing in Riga, Latvia," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 9(1), pages 112-131.
  • Handle: RePEc:ire:issued:v:09:n:01:2006:p:112-131

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles C. Tu & Mark J. Eppli, 1999. "Valuing New Urbanism: The Case of Kentlands," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 27(3), pages 425-451.
    2. Moorhouse John C. & Smith Margaret Supplee, 1994. "The Market for Residential Architecture: 19th Century Row Houses in Boston's South End," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 267-277, May.
    3. Song, Yan & Knaap, Gerrit-Jan, 2003. "New urbanism and housing values: a disaggregate assessment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 218-238, September.
    4. Bertaud, Alain & Renaud, Bertrand, 1995. "Cities without land markets : location and land use in the socialist city," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1477, The World Bank.
    5. Renaud, Bertrand M., 1996. "Housing finance in transition economies : the early years in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1565, The World Bank.
    6. Kerry D. Vandell & Jonathan S. Lane, 1989. "The Economics of Architecture and Urban Design: Some Preliminary Findings," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(2), pages 235-260.
    7. Hough, Douglas E. & Kratz, Charles G., 1983. "Can "good" architecture meet the market test?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 40-54, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paolo Rosato & Lucia Rotaris & Margaretha Breil & Valentina Zanatta, 2008. "Do We Care about Built Cultural Heritage? The Empirical Evidence Based on the Veneto House Market," Working Papers 2008.64, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

    More about this item


    architecture; Hedonic models; transitional economies; Riga; pricing;

    JEL classification:

    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services


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