Valuing Sunshine

Valuing Sunshine (600 KB)

Published: 2017

Authors: David Fleming, Laurent Lebreton, Dave Maré, Peter Nunns, Arthur Grimes

Beams of light and warmth    
Make a house desirable,    
and we value them.    

Constable St LowresSunlight influences people’s real estate decisions, but city intensification may reduce sunlight exposure for neighbouring properties, causing a negative externality. There are hitherto no rigorous estimates of the cost of this externality. Using over 5,000 observations on house sales in Wellington, New Zealand, we derive the willingness to pay for an extra daily hour of sun, on average, across the year. After controlling for locational sorting and other considerations in an hedonic regression, we find that each extra daily hour of sunlight exposure is associated with a 2.4% increase in house sale price. This estimate is robust to a variety of alternative specifications. Our results can be used to price negative externalities caused by new development, so replacing inflexible regulations designed to address impacts of development on neighbours’ sunshine.


Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge