Planning and zoning meetings across Connecticut have been punctuated by decades of public comments that low-income housing, if the commission dared to allow such housing to be introduced in their city, would reduce the value of homeowners’ homes. holders. The argument could be summarized that the development of social housing, by its very proximity to existing houses, reduces the sale value of these houses, thus imposing, in effect, an additional property tax on the holders.

My analysis of the data shows otherwise.

Dan Smolnik

My calculations—including the density of low-income housing throughout Connecticut and the housing price changes in each ZIP code that includes low-income housing, from 2010 to 2021—demonstrate that, in fact, the value of housing in communities where low-income housing is built rise, not fall, faster than housing values ​​in the rest of the state.

First, using HUD and census data, I mapped the low-income housing units per capita in each Connecticut ZIP code, and aggregated the data by city. An interesting pattern has been revealed, showing two things:

  • Low-income housing is more densely developed along major highway alignments and…
  • Contiguous cities tend to include more low-income housing than cities far from other cities that include low-income housing. This may be due in part to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Scoring System administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, which awards points to low-income housing development proposals that fit within certain regional plans for revitalization or affordable housing, in certain urban areas or urban areas. and near designated amenities such as grocery stores, medical offices, and parks that include playgrounds, walking paths, and sports facilities, such as basketball courts.

Assessing cities with low-income housing present using the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Housing Price Index growth data for the years 2010 to 2021 shows that these cities have experienced a home price growth nearly 0.4 percentage points higher than the state as a whole.

In other words, house prices in cities with low-income housing are showing house price growth significantly faster than house prices in the state as a whole.

This is not to claim that the development of social housing in a city leads to faster growth in local housing prices. The data, however, indicate the presence of factors associated with the presence of social housing that positively affect the value of residential real estate.

The myth of the negative effects on house prices of social housing development contradicts demonstrable facts. Cities should take this into account when evaluating low-income housing proposals.

Dan Smolnik is a tax lawyer in Hamden and a member of the Hamden Economic Development Commission. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.