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The effects of low-income developments on house prices in Los Angeles

Richard Voith and Jing Liu of Philadelphia-based Econsult, along with a bunch of other smart coauthors, have just published a working paper looking at the effects of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) on home prices. More specifically, they looked at the impact that LIHTC-financed properties have had in Los Angeles — both in low-income and high-income neighborhoods, as well as when it’s the first LIHTC development in the area or a subsequent one. Some of you might be assuming that low-income housing is likely to create downward pressure on home prices. But the authors found the opposite to be true. Below is the paper’s abstract. If you’d like to download a copy of the full working paper, you can do that over here.

Abstract: While there is widespread agreement about the importance of the Low-Income Housing
Tax Credit (LIHTC) in addressing the country’s affordable housing needs, there is less certainty about the effects of LIHTC-financed properties on their surrounding neighborhoods. A growing body of research has largely refuted the argument that affordable housing properties in and of themselves have negative effects on local property values and increase crime rates. Several key questions remain essentially unanswered, however. First, for how long do the observed spillover benefits of LIHTC construction last? Second, does the development of multiple LIHTC properties in a neighborhood have an additive, supplemental effect on surrounding conditions, or is there a threshold at which the concentration of such properties – and the predominantly low-income individuals they house – negatively affects the neighborhood?

In this paper, we focus on Los Angeles County, a large, diverse urban area with significant affordability challenges. Drawing upon both public and proprietary property sales data, we conduct interrupted time series analyses to ascertain whether property value trends differed prior and subsequent to the introduction of a LIHTC-financed property in the community. We find that LIHTC properties positively impact surrounding housing values across the spectrum of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods. Further the concentration of multiple LIHTC properties in a neighborhood additively increases housing prices up to ½ mile away. Finally, these effects though of greater magnitude in lower-income neighborhoods, are fully present in high-income neighborhoods.

Image: Econsult

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