Study: Affordable Housing Development Raises Nearby Property Values

More evidence that a common talking point of affordable housing opposition is more fear than fact.

1 minute read

April 20, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A rainbow colored sign planted in the front yard of a typical suburban home reads, "In this house we believe love is love, black lives matter, no human is illegal, science is real, women's rights are human rights. In a world where you can be anything, be kind."

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Homeowners and other property owners have a history of opposing proposed affordable housing developments out of concern for their property values. Affordable housing projects will bring undesirable residents, crime, and blight to the neighborhood—according to this common line of thinking—and property values throughout the surrounding neighborhood will drop.

Except there is a growing body of evidence that suggests the common narrative is completely false.

Writing for the Urban Institute, Christina Plerhoples Stacy and Christopher Davis share recent research adds to the evidence for a more welcoming approach to affordable housing. The researchers used Zillow’s assessor and real estate database to estimate the relationship between affordable housing developments sales prices of single-family homes, duplexes, cooperatives, and residential condominiums between 2000 and 2020 in Alexandria, Virginia.

“We find that affordable units in the city of Alexandria are associated with a small but statistically significant increase in property values of 0.09 percent within 1/16 of a mile of a development, on average—a distance comparable to a typical urban block,” write the authors to explain their findings.

The entire report is available at the link below. 

For more on the historic evidence of a similar benefit to property values from nearby affordable housing development, see also a Planetizen article about a Trulia study from 2016 and a Shelterforce article from 2012.

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