The current literature often values intangible goods like cultural heritage by applying stated preference methods. In recent years, however, the increasing availability of large databases on real estate transactions and listed prices has opened up new research possibilities and has reduced various existing barriers to applications of conventional (spatial) hedonic analysis to the real estate market. The present paper provides one of the first applications using a spatial autoregressive model to investigate the impact of cultural heritage-in particular, listed buildings and historic-cultural sites (or historic landmarks)-on the value of real estate in cities. In addition, this paper suggests a novel way of specifying the spatial weight matrix-only prices of sold houses influence current price-in identifying the spatial dependency effects between sold properties. The empirical application in the present study concerns the Dutch urban area of Zaanstad, a historic area for which over a long period of more than 20 years detailed information on individual dwellings, and their market prices are available in a GIS context. In this paper, the effect of cultural heritage is analysed in three complementary ways. First, we measure the effect of a listed building on its market price in the relevant area concerned. Secondly, we investigate the value that listed heritage has on nearby property. And finally, we estimate the effect of historic-cultural sites on real estate prices. We find that, to purchase a listed building, buyers are willing to pay an additional 26.9 %, while surrounding houses are worth an extra 0.28 % for each additional listed building within a 50-m radius. Houses sold within a conservation area appear to gain a premium of 26.4 % which confirms the existence of a 'historic ensemble' effect. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.