Upzoning Chicago: Yimby Narrative Wrong

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

Yonah Freemark - January 29, 2019

UPDATED LINK (no pay wall) - Higher density leads to higher prices, not more affordability, a review of an upzoning experiment in Chicago shows.

This is a scholar out of MIT who studied what happened to property values (they went up) and housing supply (it did not increase) after Chicago went through Upzoning. Here is the abstract:

What are the local-level impacts of zoning change? I study recent Chicago upzonings that increased allowed densities and reduced parking requirements in a manner exogenous of development plans and neighborhood characteristics. To evaluate outcomes, I use difference-in-differences tests on property transaction prices and housing-unit construction permits. I detect significant, robust increases in values for transactions on parcels that received a boost in allowed building size. I also identify value increases for residential condominiums, indicating that upzoning increased prices of existing housing units. I find no impacts of the reforms, however, on the number of newly permitted dwellings over five years. As such, I demonstrate that the short-term, local-level impacts of upzoning are higher property prices but no additional new housing construction.

See link here.

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