UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Not in my neighbour's back yard? : Laneway homes and neighbours' property values Davidoff, Tom; Pavlov, Andrey; Somerville, Tsur


Single family zoning is often defended by homeowners as necessary to preserve neighbourhood amenities, but blamed by economists for making housing less affordable by constraining supply. In 2009, the City of Vancouver (Canada) rezoned 95% of single family areas to allow small “laneway homes" behind main residential structures. The goal was to increase rental housing supply with minimal disruption to rezoned neighbourhoods. We exploit this regulatory change to estimate the magnitude of externalities from density. We find small and statistically insignificant average spillovers from the addition of laneway housing on the values of adjacent properties. Laneway homes' impact is greater and statistically different from zero on more expensive properties. [This work was released in 2019 and updated in 2021. A previous version with an alternate title was published in 2018 and is accessible here: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/65186]

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