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October 22, 2021

Gay neighbours good for your home value?

There’s no shortage of great, controversial topics on the Dollars and Sex blog over at BigThink.com.

1108079_monthly_fee_5 Just take a look at the titles of a few recent posts on the site’s feed: “Ovulating Lap Dancers Make More Money” and “A Racial Gap In Condom Use.”

Again, fantastic. Each of BigThink author Marina Adshade’s articles are backed by academic research, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less divisive. Well, how about this one? “Gay Neighbours Are Good For Home Values.” That sound like something you’d like to read more of?

The latest Dollars and Sex contention, which stems from the work of a Canadian professor, suggests that the presence of gay people in a neighbourhood can help boost its real estate prices.

According to Richard Florida, a University of Toronto economist who studied 331 metropolitan cities across North America, a higher concentration of what he calls a “creative class” of neighbourhood residents not only provides a positive effect on real estate value, but may also signal a region making transitions in all the right ways.

Such a “creative class,” it stands to note, is broken down here as including “artists, bohemians and gays,” a definition which I’ll let you decide is presumptive and offensive or not.

Florida argues what’s behind such a real estate boost is the creative class’ tendency to improve the aesthetics of a neighbourhood. And you might have a problem with that notion.

Yet it’s the professor’s second point that is his most convincing. The cities that welcome and nurture such creative classes of people are usually progressive, free-thinking towns that have an accepting culture for the best and the brightest, regardless of their orientations, race or whatever.

“Acceptance increases the probability that employers will hire the workers who are the most productive,” writes Adshade, “not just the ones whose lifestyles they approve of.”

Further, then, these liberal cities are likely to be growing – in both economy and population – meaning real estate prices are sure to follow.

“The fact that gays and lesbians choose to live in these neighbourhoods sends a signal that these social norms are more prevalent than in the neighbourhoods they choose not to live in," Adshade concludes.

“The fact that house prices are higher is an outcome of the economic growth created by the social norm of acceptance, not necessarily an outcome of the people the acceptance attracted into the neighbourhood.”

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...