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The External Costs of Vacant Homes

It might seem obvious that vacant homes attract crime and other noxious elements to surrounding properties, but researchers are still working to quantify those external costs.
January 19, 2017, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Olivier Le Queinec

"That foreclosed house on your street with the chipped paint and boarded-up windows — it’s ugly, sure, but how much does it cost?"

That's the question posed by a new report written by Aaron Klein and covered by Rachel Dovey in an article for Next City. According to Dovey's summary, the report estimates that each vacant property "costs roughly $155,000 in its first year."

Those boarded-up windows are something of an “X marks the spot” for certain types of crimes, particularly the theft of appliances and copper pipes. The report estimates that, within 250 feet of a foreclosed home, the foreclosure process actually leads to a 10 percent increase in the number of reported crimes per year. And the impact of vacancy on crime increases as the property stays unoccupied, leveling out between a year and 18 months. Then, in a vicious cycle, that increase in crime can cause neighboring property values to decline.

The report, "Understanding the True Costs of Abandoned Properties: How Maintenance Can Make a Difference," was published by Community Blight Solutions.

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Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 in Next City
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