The Housing Cycle in Eastern Massachusetts: Variations among Cities and Towns

by Karl E. Case and Christopher J. Mayer
March/April 1995

Numerous studies over the years have attempted to identify the impact of amenities on housing price levels within specific metropolitan areas. It is well know, for example, that local public goods, tax burdens, school quality, crime rates, and the like are capitalized into land values. This article divides the Eastern Massachusetts area into small groups of similar towns and examines the pattern of price changes across those groups during the boom, bust, and recovery periods. Since 1982, differences in appreciation rates across cities and towns have been particularly pronounces. The authors find that housing affordablility was the most important factor explaining price changes during the boom period, but location, schools, and a town's employment base became relatively more consequential during the bust and the recovery.

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