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Do Property Tax Incentives for New Construction Spur Gentrification? Evidence from New York City

Divya Singh

2020 Papers from Job Market Papers

Abstract: Recently, many cities have proposed property tax incentives on new construction to counteract rising rents. However, to date, there is little empirical evidence on their local effects. This paper uses a natural experiment in New York City to estimate the local effects of new tax-exempt residential construction. In 2006, the city government decided to make property tax incentives on new construction less generous, but only starting in 2008. Developers rushed to build and claim incentives before the deadline in response. I instrument the number of new units developed within 150 meters from a rental building by the baseline number of vacant parcels available within the same distance. Using a new dataset of rents and investment at the level of a building, I find that the existing rental buildingâs rent increased by 2.3% in response to an additional tax-exempt unit built within a 150 meters radius. I provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that new residential investment rendered neighborhoods more desirable by attracting affluent households and facilitating the entry of businesses and consumption amenities. Overall, the results indicate that tax-exempt new construction spurred gentrification.

JEL-codes: R31 H23 H71 H30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-01-20
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pbe, nep-pub and nep-ure
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