Economic studies in recent years add fodder to the argument for historic preservation. In the past five years, there has been “a lot of substantive research in this area,” says Don Rypkema, principal with PlaceEconomics, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate and economic development firm.
Studies have identified four major economic impacts of preservation:
• Creation of jobs and household income
• Increases to property values
• Revitalization of the “Main Street community”
• Development of heritage tourism
A study in Delaware showed that rehabilitation of old buildings created 14.6 jobs per $1 million of output, as compared to 11.2 jobs created by new construction, and 9.2 jobs created in manufacturing for the same level of output. Creation of local historic districts not only adds value to historic homes, but to other properties near those homes, Rypkema points out. In Philadelphia, it represented a sales price premium of 131 percent; in nine Texas cities, increased property values ranged from 5 percent to 20 percent.