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The Effects of a Recreational Bike Path on Housing Values in Muskego, Wisconsin

Russ Kashian, Matthew Winden, Emmett Storts


In 2000, the city of Muskego, Wisconsin, cleaned an abandoned railroad corridor and opened a recreational bike path in its place. This study examines the impact of this trail and other amenities on local home values for an exurban community. Most prior studies estimating the value of bike paths use hedonic analysis on the local housing market, which controls for the varying characteristics of houses (e.g., square feet of floor space, number of bedrooms) without directly measuring the impact of amenities on the value of a particular house. This study employs hedonic analysis on nearly 7,000 home sales occurring between 1993 and 2016 in Muskego, Wisconsin. The results provide an estimate of the premium created by adding the recreational bike path amenity to the community by applying geospatial analysis to generate a continuous measure of the distance from each house in the area to the bike path. The analysis indicates the bike path had a statistically significant and positive impact, increasing values by 8.6% for homes located directly adjacent to the path. Prior to bike path installation, home values increased the farther away from the rail corridor they were located, averaging $0.75 per foot away from the path. After installation, distance from the bike path no longer influenced home values (other than those adjacent), as the former rail corridor was no longer a disamenity. The findings suggest that this bike path had strong positive effects over a relatively large geographic area, with homes in the entire city benefiting. Additional amenities assessed, such as lake, golf course, park, and school proximity, also added positively to home value.

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Amenity; bike path; bike trail; greenway; home value; hedonic estimation

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