Economists studying Columbus, Ohio have found that when gays move into a liberal neighborhood, home prices increase by, on average, 1.1 percent. Since large cities and especially their cores are overwhelmingly liberal, it stands to reason that when gays move onto your (urban) block, you can look forward to a (small) boost in the value of your home.
This work seems to confirm earlier work (pdf) from economists David Christaforea and Susane Leguizamon that argued that "artistic, bohemian and gay populations increase housing values in the neighborhoods and communities in which they reside" via two mechanisms. The first is an "aesthetic-amenity premium," that is, these groups tend to make their neighborhoods more enjoyable places to live. The second is a "tolerance or open culture premium," which is to say, they make their neighborhoods feel more open to a wider diversity of people.
So it makes sense that when gays move to a liberal neighborhood, they make it more valuable. (Note that the economists behind this most recent study, David Christaforea and Susane Leguizamon, really are arguing for causation, and not just correlation.)
The converse is also true: Christaforea and Leguizamon found that when gays move to a less tolerant or more conservative neighborhood, home values actually decrease by 1 percent.
And how did they know which neighborhoods were more or less tolerant? They used census data on which areas voted for or against the Defense of Marriage Act.
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Photo: David Goehring