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Published: Tuesday, 11/8/2011

Home prices, gays' effect analyzed

Lift, fall linked to area’s politics


COLUMBUS — A study of Ohio’s capital city shows that same-sex couples may lift property values in neighborhoods that support gay marriage and hurt prices in ones that don’t.

Although earlier research suggested that gays and lesbians can be a boon for property values by helping to gentrify neighborhoods, a finer distinction was explored by professors David Christafore of Konkuk University in Seoul and Susane Leguizamon of Tulane University in New Orleans.

The economics professors, who studied home values in 2000 in and around Columbus, concluded that an increase in the number of same-sex couples by one in 1,000 households is associated with a 1.1 percent price premium in enclaves that backed gay marriage.

The same influx in areas that didn’t support same-sex marriage was linked to a 1 percent discount.

“The perception that there is prejudice against gay and lesbians by conservative groups is strong enough to be picked up in market prices,” Ms. Leguizamon said.

The study, to be published in the Journal of Urban Economics, distinguished between the two types of neighborhoods by how they voted on Ohio’s 2004 Defense of Marriage Act, which became law and defines marriage as between a man and woman.

The professors compared average home prices in neighborhoods after controlling for factors such as schools and crime rate.

Ms. Leguizamon said 2000 prices were used in part to avoid the complications of the housing bust, which started in 2006.

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