Housing prices within urban areas exhibit highly localized variation that cannot be explained solely by differences in the physical attributes of dwellings. We consider the role of local amenities and disamenities in generating price variation within urban areas, focusing on three highly policy-relevant urban issues–transport accessibility, school quality, and crime. Our survey of the recent empirical literature highlights what is known and what is not known on these issues, and considers the relevance and reliability of this evidence for policy design and evaluation. Although there are serious empirical challenges, we argue that research on housing values based on careful research designs can offer credible estimates of the social value of place-specific attributes and amenities
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