The effects of low income housing tax credit developments on neighborhoods
This paper evaluates the impacts of new housing developments funded with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), the largest federal project based housing program in the U.S., on the neighborhoods in which they are built. A discontinuity in the formula determining the magnitude of tax credits as a function of neighborhood characteristics generates pseudo-random assignment in the number of low income housing units built in similar sets of census tracts. Tracts where projects are awarded 30% higher tax credits receive approximately six more low income housing units on a base of seven units per tract. These additional new low income developments cause homeowner turnover to rise, raise property values in declining areas and reduce incomes in gentrifying areas in neighborhoods near the 30th percentile of the income distribution. LIHTC units significantly crowd out nearby new rental construction in gentrifying areas but do not displace new construction in stable or declining areas.
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