Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Study: Proximity to brownfields lowers property values, costs $2.2M in annual tax revenue

Houses close to brownfields lose value at a rate of at least 0.1 percent for each 1 percent nearer it is to a contaminated site, according to recent research by University of Cincinnati associate professor of urban planning Rainer vom Hofe and former University of Cincinnati doctoral student and Oana Mihaescu, currently affiliated with HUI Research and Dalarna University in Sweden.

Conversely, a 1 percent increase in distance from the closest brownfield corresponded to a nearly 0.1 percent increase in market value. Beyond 2,000 feet from the brownfield, the impact was negligible.

The findings were published in an article titled "Using Spatial Regression to Estimate Property Tax Discounts from Proximity to Brownfields: A Tool for Local Policy Making", which was published in the March issue of the Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management.

The researchers studied the property values of 6,863 properties located within 2,000 feet of 87 brownfield sites in Cincinnati, most of which were located within the neighborhoods of the industrial Mill Creek corridor.

For the average house in their study, which had a market value of $103,108 and was located 1,205 feet away from a brownfield, that meant a $92.09 impact for every 12 feet of distance. That costs the City more than $2.2 million in annual lost property tax revenue, the researchers said.

But there are additional benefits of brownfield redevelopment, vom Hofe said, which include environmental, social, and aesthetic improvements for surrounding residents. These losses were not quantified in the study, meaning that redevelopment could have even more of an impact on City coffers.

The team also examined 15 additional variables that could have an impact on the value of properties in the study and found that:

  • Adding one bedroom to the "average" house increased its value by 6.19 percent;
  • Adding a full bath increased the value by 14.33 percent, while adding a half bath increased the value by 9.5 percent;
  • A garage car space increased the value by 4.8 percent; and
  • Air conditioning increased the value by 21.65 percent, and heating systems added 19.6 percent in value.
Previous reading on BC:
Brownfield grants now one program, to go through JobsOhio (3/8/13)
City-county coalition to apply for $600K in brownfield funds (11/27/12)
Ludlow seeks $200K grant for Elm Street cleanup (11/12/12)
Port, Hamilton Co, City accepting applications for brownfield cleanup grants (3/29/11)
Ohio Dept of Development launches new brownfield program (1/24/11)