The Political Cost? Religious Segregation, Peace Walls, and House Prices

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The longstanding issue of discrimination and segregation in housing markets has enveloped housing market analysis and particularly the understanding of house price determination. Whilst the relationship of segregation in residential space is diverse and encompasses numerous taxonomies, in Northern Ireland, the high level of market segregation is compounded by the addition of tactile barriers such as Peace walls. The existence of these tactile barriers serves to physically segregate communities and have the capacity to prevent the restoration of normal community interactions and market processes. This paper attempts to quantify and measure the disamenity implications and costs of these hard structures on segregated communities. It achieves this by measuring the pricing effect of peace walls within segregated market areas within the Belfast housing market employing a hedonic pricing approach using data obtained from 3,836 house sales transactions over a one year period in 2014. The findings emerging from the research demonstrate that peace walls have clearly had a more detrimental and adverse effect on the consistency and application of policy and practice. Indeed, the existence of the peace walls appear to have occasioned or facilitated differential practices in housing strategies either ‘side of the wall’. The results show a clear differential distance decay effect limiting market and efficiency opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-40
JournalPeace and Conflict Studies
Issue number2
Early online date23 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 23 Oct 2017


  • segregation
  • contested space
  • post-conflict society
  • ethno-religious conflict
  • hedonic pricing
  • house prices


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