Renewed cities, renewed appreciation? Investigating the appreciation of the urban renewal building style in Dutch cities.
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This thesis investigates the effect of the Dutch urban renewal building style (1975 – 1985) on housing prices in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Leiden. Although urban renewal is generally seen as a relatively ‘unattractive’ building style, it is not yet known to what extent this influences transaction prices. Furthermore, the unique spatial lay-out of urban renewal provides the opportunity to gain insight into the price effect of the neighbors’ building style on houses as well. Because it is challenging to separate the effects of a building style from other structural and locational characteristics of a house, this study uses a rich data set of housing transactions supplemented with locational variables. The employed methods, hedonic price modelling, cluster analysis and photo documentation, make it possible to untwine the effects of the building style from the other characteristics. The results show that urban renewal creates a small but significant price discount (-3.9%) in comparison to the reference period (1900 – 1951). Furthermore, significant price premiums (+4.9% to +6.1%) are found for urban renewal houses that are surrounded by pre-war buildings, compared to houses located in clusters of urban renewal. However, the explanatory power of the building style is limited compared to other locational and structural factors. Photo documentation of case studies uncovered unconventional and subjective aspects of housing appreciation that could influence prices, namely a desirable streetscape and neighborhood image. This study contributes to the broader field of housing studies by providing empirical support for price effects attributable to a specific and ‘undesirable’ building style. Additionally, it demonstrates that the spatial configuration of housing can have an effect on prices as well. Furthermore, it submits the use of mixed methods in housing price studies to achieve a deeper and more holistic understanding of ‘appreciation’ of housing, for instance through the use of a broader range of variables and through the inclusion of subjective and ‘soft’ housing factors.