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Report shows economic, social, benefits of historic Phoenix neighborhoods

Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 1:32pm

A new report shows the economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits of Phoenix’s historic neighborhoods.

After crunching data, Place Economics, a national consultancy, found Phoenix’s historic neighborhoods offer more diversity in housing options, prices and residents.

The report said two-thirds of housing stock in historic neighborhoods are valued between $200,000 and $400,000. With 46% of Phoenix households considered low, very low or extremely low income, the older stock provides affordable housing without government subsidies. The report said maintaining affordable older housing stock is crucial to responding to the affordable housing crisis.

Most areas are considered "very walkable" while the city as a whole is rated as "car dependent." Consultant Donovan Rypkema told the City Council they also provide more tree cover.

“In the environmental measurements like CO2 sequestered or CO2 avoided, or very important here gallons of water saved decidedly greater in those environmental measurements in your local historic districts,” he said.

Over the last five years, he said property values in historic districts have outperformed the city overall. And foreclosure rates in historic neighborhoods have been measurably lower than the rest of the city every year since the Great Recession.

“It’s not that nobody who lives in a historic district never gets divorced, loses their job or runs their credit card bill up too much, it is — we think — the fact that even in down markets, there’s a latent demand for those houses in those neighborhoods that will get me out of trouble, let me sell that property, before I get into the foreclosure process,” Rypkema said.

Key findings

The historic neighborhoods of Phoenix are dense, 1,000 people per square mile more dense than residential neighborhoods in the rest of the city.

Historic neighborhoods in Phoenix are walkable — most rated “Very Walkable” — whereas the city as a whole is rated “Car Dependent."

During the real estate crisis which accompanied the Great Recession, foreclosure rates in historic neighborhoods were measurably lower than the rest of the city, a pattern that has continued every year since.

Even during the last five years of a boom cycle in real estate, property values in historic districts have outperformed the city as a whole.

Phoenix historic neighborhoods are diverse neighborhoods, by race, ethnicity, and income.

Phoenix historic neighborhoods are also diverse in their housing stock with a much wider range of housing options than most Phoenix subdivisions. ·

The tree cover typically found in historic areas sequesters five times the CO2, five times the value of water saved, and six times the value of air quality benefits per acre than the rest of the city.

Commercial areas with a concentration of heritage buildings are magnets for small businesses, legacy businesses, and businesses in the creative and knowledge categories.

Ninety-five percent of all businesses in the heritage commercial areas employ fewer than 20 workers.

Business Arizona History Housing