Infrastructure Finance and Residential Growth Management Policy in Montgomery County, Maryland
In recent years, many local governments have struggled to address the burdens that uncontrolled residential development imposes on municipal infrastructure and other public facilities. Some local jurisdictions have implemented growth management programs and innovative infrastructure financing methods to coordinate new residential growth with the timely provision of essential public facilities. One of the most common approaches to this problem involves the use of development impact fees to finance infrastructure and other public facilities. Proponents of impact fees have argued that they will result in more efficient development patterns by forcing developers to internalize the full social cost of new residential development. Some economists and affordable housing advocates, on the other hand, have argued that impact fees push up housing prices. Most empirical studies have confirmed that impact taxes do indeed increase the average price of both new and existing housing while reducing the value of undeveloped land. This study employs a hedonic price model to estimate the effects of development impact taxes and the Maryland Priority Funding Areas (PFA) program on housing prices in Montgomery County, Maryland. An ordinary least squares (OLS) regression indicates that each additional dollar of impact taxes levied on a housing unit in Montgomery County can be expected to raise its sales price by $3.95. The model also suggests that a home located within the PFA is expected to sell for $36,887 more than an otherwise similar home located outside of the boundary. Both of these findings are generally consistent with economic theory and earlier empirical work.
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