Reducing gun-related homicides would have a positive impact on housing prices in cities across the United States, according to a Center for American Progress report released this week.
The report studied violent crimes in eight cities across the country and found that reducing the rate of homicides corresponds to rising housing prices. According to the report, cities like Boston and Philadelphia would see increases in home prices worth billions of dollars:
On average, a reduction in a given year of one homicide in a zip code causes a 1.5 percent increase in housing values in that same zip code the following year. We applied these findings to available data on the value of the housing stock in the metropolitan areas of all eight cities. The estimated increases in the value of the housing stock for the eight cities and their immediate metropolitan areas, following a 10 percent reduction in homicides, range from $600 million in Jacksonville and the surrounding area to $800 million in the Milwaukee area, to $3.2 billion in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, and $4.4 billion in the Boston area. Unfortunately, inconsistent reporting of other types of violent crime—rapes, assaults, and robberies—preclude a reliable analysis of the impact on housing values of changes in the incidence of those crimes.
Boosting housing values in these areas and others would help cities and states solve their dire budget situations as well, since it would increase the amount the cities and states take in through property taxes. That would help avoid cuts to education and other vital programs that have been crunched during the recession and recovery.
And because two-thirds of homicides are committed with handguns, this report makes it clear that reducing the amount of handguns in our communities — and thus reducing the amount of violent crime committed with those guns — has positive economic benefits.