To show the value of affordable housing, proponents can point others to recently published research compiled by online residential real estate site Trulia, which found that in the nation’s 20 most expensive housing markets, housing built for low-income individuals during a 10-year span had no effect on the values of nearby homes.
“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,” Cheryl Young, senior economist at Trulia, wrote on the company’s blog. NIMBY is an acronym for “not in my back yard.”
Using Trulia home value data, the company examined changes in nearby home values before and after low-income housing projects were completed. Trulia defined such projects as those funded through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development collects data on these projects.
Research revealed 3,083 affordable housing projects in the country’s 20 least affordable markets from 1996 to 2006. Generally speaking, Trulia found no significant effect on the values of homes located near low-income housing projects, although a few exceptions existed.
In Denver, homes located near affordable housing projects registered a positive effect in terms of price per square foot after a project was completed. In Boston and Cambridge, MA, however, affordable housing projects had a negative effect on nearby homes in terms of price per square foot, suggesting a region-specific market effect for these two geographically adjacent metros. Concentrating affordable housing projects in certain areas in a short period of time may have left little room for other development, Young wrote.