Date Presented

Spring 3-26-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Access Type

1

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Messerschmidt

Second Advisor

Schnur

Third Advisor

Prinzinger

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to determine the implicit factors influencing housing prices in Pittsylvania County, a rural county in Southside Virginia. Currently in Pittsylvania County there is a debate over whether or not to mine what is believed to be the largest deposit of uranium in the United States, containing approximately 119 million pounds of uranium ore at an estimated value of $7 billion to $10 billion. The Virginia Coal and Energy Commission issued its final approval for the National Academy of Sciences to study the debate from a socio-economic standpoint. The $1.2 million study is currently taking place on Coles Hill Farm in Chatham, VA and is expected to last 18 months. In addition to the uranium issue, much of the previous work on housing valuation models has been done in urban areas, so it is of interest to see which factors are important in a rural community as opposed to a metropolitan area. The sample consists of 163 transactions obtained from the Navica Multiple Listing Service system for the date range of September 1st, 2008 through August 31st, 2009. A hedonic pricing model was used to estimate the regressions because of the heterogeneous nature of housing market. The hedonic model allows us to measure the marginal effect of a one unit change in any of the independent variables on the dependant variables. Continuous and dummy variables were used in the regressions. The continuous variables estimated were: acres of the property, age of the house, age squared, number of bathrooms, number of bedrooms, square footage of the basement, number of days the house was on the market, miles away from Cole Hill Farm, and square footage of the house. The dummy variables that were estimated include: whether or not the house had central air, if the basement was finished or not, if the house was stick built or not, and location dummies for Chatham High School, Dan River High School, and Tunstall High School. The major findings were that across the board location within Pittsylvania County does not seem to matter, at least based on the four high school districts. The presence of the current uranium situation also doesn't seem to have any significant influence on prices in the current time period. The most significant variables are the physical characteristics that make up the house and property itself such as acres, age, age squared, bedrooms, bathrooms, basement square footage, house square footage, and whether the house was stick built or not.

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