Architectural Design and the Value of Housing in Riga, Latvia


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Steven Plaut and Egita Uzulena

112 / 131




International Real Estate Review


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.

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