The oft-cited fear that affordable housing will hurt the value of nearby homes is unfounded, according to a decade long look at the data.
“The bottom line for NIMBYs who fear that property values will take a hit when a low-income housing project locates nearby is that their anxiety is largely unfounded – at least in cities where housing is either expensive or in short supply,” writes Cheryl Young, a senior economist at Trulia, a real estate aggregator.
Building affordable housing where it’s needed most — where inventory is low and prices are high — doesn’t counter the economic realities of supply and demand on the market price for homes.
“There Doesn’t Go the Neighborhood: Low-income Housing Has No Impact on Nearby Home Values” studied the impact of affordable housing on nearby homes from 1996 to 2006. This study is only the latest to show this lack of correlation.
The study looked at more than 3,000 properties in the 20 least affordable metro areas and found there was no significant effect on nearby home values resulting from Housing Tax Credit developments.
In the nation’s 20 least affordable markets, their analysis of 3,083 low-income housing projects from 1996 to 2006 found no significant effect on home values located near a low-income housing project, with a few exceptions.
In Denver, homes located near low-income housing projects actually registered a positive effect in terms of price per square foot after a project was completed. While other studies have also shown no correlation, opponents to building affordable housing often cite the fear of lowered property values as their top concern.
“Unfortunately, developers of affordable housing are faced with educating the public about the benefits with each proposal, because Texas law has politicized the siting process,” said Frank Jackson, executive director of the Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers. “Battling ignorance, and sometimes racism, is just part of the job.”