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Will they stay or will they go: Predicting subsidized housing opt-outs


  • Reina, Vincent
  • Begley, Jaclene


Over the past 30years, the share of renters in the United States spending over 30% of their income on rent, and thereby qualifying as rent burdened, has increased. This trend has particularly affected low-income families. At the same time, owners of thousands of privately owned, publicly subsidized rental housing units have left, or “opted out,” of subsidy programs across the country. The efforts of local governments to preserve these properties as affordable housing are handicapped by a lack of understanding of the underlying factors that drive owners’ decisions to opt out. This paper employs a unique dataset on subsidized properties in New York City and uses hazard models to explore why property owners in the Mitchell-Lama program, a New York State affordable housing program, choose to opt out. Our results suggest that properties located in neighborhoods with high property value growth, those with for-profit owners, and those past the affordability restrictions on all subsidies, are more likely to opt out. While our study focuses on Mitchell-Lama properties, the findings have broader implications for properties around the country that receive supply-side rental subsidies.

Suggested Citation

  • Reina, Vincent & Begley, Jaclene, 2014. "Will they stay or will they go: Predicting subsidized housing opt-outs," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 1-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhouse:v:23:y:2014:i:c:p:1-16
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhe.2013.11.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John M. Quigley & Steven Raphael, 2004. "Is Housing Unaffordable? Why Isn't It More Affordable?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 191-214, Winter.
    2. Leung, Charles Ka Yui & Sarpça, Sinan & Yilmaz, Kuzey, 2012. "Public housing units vs. housing vouchers: Accessibility, local public goods, and welfare," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 310-321.
    3. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2008. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9787111235767, January.
    4. Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Ellen, Ingrid Gould & Voicu, Ioan & Schill, Michael H., 2006. "The external effects of place-based subsidized housing," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 679-707, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Boarnet, Marlon G & Bostic, Raphael & Williams, Danielle & Santiago-Bartolomei, Raul & Rodnyansky, Seva & Eisenlohr, Andy, 2017. "Affordable Housing in Transit-Oriented Developments: Impacts on Driving and Policy Approaches," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt487994z4, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    2. Vincent J Reina & Ben Winter, 2019. "Safety net? The use of vouchers when a place-based rental subsidy ends," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 56(10), pages 2092-2111, August.
    3. Bostic, Raphael & Ellen, Ingrid Gould, 2014. "Introduction: Special issue on housing policy in the United States," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 1-3.
    4. Kathryn Howell, 2018. "Neighbourhoods, local networks and the non-linear path of the expiration and preservation of federal rental subsidies," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 55(14), pages 3092-3109, November.

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