NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Benefits of Apartments

March 10, 2004

Apartment communities help meet the housing needs of a rapidly growing population in the North Texas county of Tarrant, according to the head of the local apartment association. As in many cities, however, local policy-makers oppose apartments, because they believe certain myths about multifamily communities, according to Marlene Walker.

For example:

  • It is a myth that apartments diminish adjacent property values -- an Urban Land Institute report found that between 1987 and 1995 the average annual appreciation for single-family houses within 300 feet of an apartment community was 3.12 percent, compared to 3.19 percent for houses not near apartments.
  • It is a myth that apartments are a detriment to attracting business to a city: a 1998 National Association of Home Builders study found that the construction of a 100-unit apartment community results in 122 new jobs, $579,000 in local taxes and fees and $5.2 million in income to local business.
  • It is a myth that apartment populations overwhelm local schools: on a unit-by-unit basis, single-family homes have three times as many school-age children as apartments, says Walker.

Furthermore, contrary to myth, apartments aren't synonymous with "public housing," says Walker:

  • Participation in federally subsidized housing programs is not mandatory unless developers use government money to acquire or finance multifamily properties -- in which case they are typically required to set aside a certain percentage of units for Section 8 low income housing.
  • Additionally, nonprofit apartment owners known as community housing development organizations (CHDOs) do not pay property taxes.

Source: Marlene Walker, "Apartment mythology," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 10, 2004.


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