Local residents packed Jensen Hall to discuss affordable housing in Lassen County earlier this year.. Many expressed fear such a project would lower their property values. Photo by Sam Williams

Affordable housing has positive or no impact on property values, review from A-Mark finds

It’s one of the loudest complaints from Susanville residents when someone starts talking about affordable house — such a project will kill the property values of nearby homes. But a review of studies by A-Mark Foundation on what happens to property values when low-income housing is built showed those not-in-my-backyard fears may be misplaced.

According to a statement from the A-Mark foundation, the housing shortage is fueled, in part, by resistance to building low-income or affordable housing in wealthier neighborhoods. A-Mark Foundation gathered research on how affordable housing affects home prices — and the results are not what many people might expect.

The report is now available to read at amarkfoundation.org: “What Is the Impact of Low-Income Housing on Property Values?

Research studies into the impact of low-income housing on neighborhood property values have generally concluded that there was either no impact or a positive impact on property values.

Even in studies where results were mixed, some positive impacts on property values were found.

Of the 13 studies in A-Mark’s report, seven found that when low-income housing was built, property values in the neighborhoods increased.

Three studies in A-Mark’s report showed that building low-income properties has different impacts depending on the type of neighborhood. Two of those studies concluded that low-income housing had a negative impact on property values if built in affluent or higher-income areas, but a positive impact if built in areas with more lower-income residents or a lack of existing investment. Another study, however, had the opposite conclusion.

Rob Eshman, A-Mark Foundation CEO, wrote about the report’s findings in an article for the Los Angeles Times titled, “Stop worrying, NIMBYS — affordable housing shouldn’t squash your property values.”

In his column, Eshman began with the observation that in his Venice, California neighborhood, affordable housing did not impede the rise in home values. He interviewed California housing experts and developers, who spoke about challenges in getting wealthier neighborhoods to accept low-income housing even though their fears are likely unfounded.

“My family’s neighborhood may be an outlier,” Eshman wrote, “but at least for the last three decades, it has also served as vibrant proof that the notion that affordable housing lowers property values is overblown, if not flat-out wrong.”

A-Mark also created a 10-question affordable housing quiz that tests readers’ knowledge on low-income housing and property values to accompany the report.

About the A-Mark Foundation
Founded in 1997, the A-Mark Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to provide unbiased, nonpartisan research and information on critical issues. For more information, contact info@amarkfoundation.org.