The Internal and External Impact of Historical Designation on Property Values

N. Edward Coulson, Robin M. Leichenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Designation of historic properties and historic districts is increasingly used as a means to revive central-city neighborhoods and to promote urban economic development. While preservation activities are thought to generate positive externalities for surrounding neighborhoods, these external effects have been difficult to quantify. Using a database of tax-appraisal records for residential properties in Abilene, Texas, this study demonstrates that there are significant, positive externalities associated with historic designation. We perform simple cost-benefit calculations and find that the internal and external benefits more than outweigh the (nonzero) costs associated with historical designation. Moreover, from the city of Abilene's perspective the property-tax incentives provided to historic reinvestment are outweighed by the added property-tax revenue created by the increased value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-124
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Real Estate Finance and Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies


  • Historic preservation
  • Property values


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