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Amenity-Based Housing Affordability Indexes

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  • Lynn M. Fisher
  • Henry O. Pollakowski
  • Jeffrey Zabel

Abstract

The recent slump notwithstanding, substantial increases in house prices in many parts of the United States have served to highlight housing affordability for moderate-income households, especially in high-cost, supply-constrained coastal cities such as Boston. In this article, we develop a new measure of area affordability that characterizes the supply of housing that is affordable to different households in different locations of a metropolitan region. Key to our approach is the explicit recognition that the price/rent of a dwelling is affected by its location. Hence, we develop an affordability methodology that accounts for job accessibility, school quality and safety. This allows us to produce a menu of town-level indexes of adjusted housing affordability. The adjustments are based on obtaining implicit prices of these amenities from a hedonic price equation. We thus use data from a wide variety of sources to rank 141 towns in the greater Boston metropolitan area based on their adjusted affordability. Taking households earning 80% of area median income as an example, we find that consideration of town-level amenities leads to major changes relative to a typical assessment of affordability. Copyright (c) 2009 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association in its journal Real Estate Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 705-746

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Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:37:y:2009:i:4:p:705-746

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Cited by:
  1. repec:cen:wpaper:11-30 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Maurice Dalton & Jeffrey Zabel, 2009. "The Impact of Minimum Lot Size Regulations on House Prices in Eastern Massachusetts," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0732, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  3. Ritashree Chakrabarti & Junfu Zhang, 2010. "Unaffordable housing and local employment growth," New England Public Policy Center Working Paper 10-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  4. Fredrik Andersson & John C. Haltiwanger & Mark J. Kutzbach & Giordano Palloni & Henry O. Pollakowski & Daniel H. Weinberg, 2013. "Childhood Housing And Adult Earnings: A Between-Siblings Analysis Of Housing Vouchers And Public Housing," Working Papers 13-48, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Waltert, Fabian & Schl├Ąpfer, Felix, 2010. "Landscape amenities and local development: A review of migration, regional economic and hedonic pricing studies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 141-152, December.
  6. Jordan Rappaport, 2008. "The affordability of homeownership to middle-income Americans," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 65-95.
  7. Mark J. Kutzbach, 2010. "Access to Workers or Employers? An Intra-Urban Analysis of Plant Location Decisions," Working Papers 10-21r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Sep 2012.

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