Residential Property Values and Community Right-to-Know Laws: Has the Toxics Release Inventory Had an Impact?



ABSTRACT  This paper uses a cross-sectional hedonic pricing model to investigate the relationship between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data releases and the prices of single-family residences within postal zip code areas situated in Omaha, Nebraska's Douglas County. The model employs demographic data from the 2000 Census, toxic chemical release data for the year 2000 from the EPA's TRI database, as well as other pollution variables for each of the zip code areas comprising Douglas County. The model also employs house-specific data supplied by the Douglas County Assessor's Office on dwelling characteristics for homes sold in Douglas County in the year 2000. The findings indicate that, when controlling for relevant socioeconomic variables, TRI pollutant releases are significant determinants of residential housing values. The results should be of interest to anyone in the real estate industry, including tax assessors, appraisers, mortgage lenders, and property owners.