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The Economic Impact of Affordable Housing Along Transit Corridors in Metro Denver

[This is another in our series of expert blogs on TOD highlighting work and research that experts are doing in the field. This article by Kim Calomino of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver and Josh Burdick of the Urban Land Conservancy summarizes the work of Dr. Elliot Eisenberg, Senior Economist of the National Association of Home Builders, surrounding the economic impact of LIHTC development along transit corridors.]

Affordable housing built with low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) creates millions of dollars in local income, taxes, and local jobs for the Denver metro area, according to a study done by Dr. Elliot Eisenberg, senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  Dr. Eisenberg presented the study results to public policy makers and other housing advocates at a breakfast on June 15th hosted by the Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) and the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver (HBA).

Dr. Eisenberg’s study looked at the impact of building new LIHTC apartments in a 10-county Denver Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and primarily along transit corridors.  The 10-county MSA includes Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Douglas, Broomfield, Elbert, Park, Clear Creek, and Gilpin. 

Dr. Eisenberg identified the first year, direct and indirect, local economic impacts as $57.6 million in local income, $5.0 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 732 local jobs. These impacts represent income and jobs for residents in the study area, and taxes (and other sources of revenue, including permit fees) for all local jurisdictions in the MSA.

Dr. Eisenberg calculated the annually recurring economic impact beyond the first year at $16.7 million in local income, $2.3 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 192 local jobs. These impacts are the result of the new apartments being occupied and residents paying taxes and otherwise participating in the local economy year after year.  It also includes the effect of increased property taxes.

Central to how the real estate community thinks about affordable housing is the $6.5 billion, 119 mile, and 60-station expansion of Denver MSA’s light rail system over the next 20 years.  To better understand affordable housing in the context of transit, 92 percent of the apartments in the study data were taken from developments within a half-mile of light rail or a quarter-mile of rapid bus transit, otherwise known as “Transit-Oriented Development” (TOD). 

 “The focus on development around transit stops is especially important,” said Aaron Miripol, President and CEO of ULC. “The demand for affordable housing around transit stops will continue to grow, and understanding the economic impact of building LIHTC housing near transit is critical for policy makers, housing advocates and other community leaders.”

 “Particularly as the economy continues to struggle, this study couldn’t be more timely,” notes Roger Reinhardt, Executive Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver.  “Dr. Eisenberg’s study makes clear the vital role of the housing industry in generating local income and jobs and local government revenue.  Creating vibrant communities along transit corridors with a mix of housing types, including affordable housing, will benefit the local economy as well as the residents who will live, work and recreate within the community while having transit access the broader metro area.”

The full report: The Economic Impact of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Development Along Transit Corridors in Metro Denver: Income, Jobs, and Taxes Generated