Housing abandonment and demolition: Exploring the use of micro-level and multi-year models

Policies focusing on enforcing property code violations and the improvement of vacant properties are argued to be more efficacious than demolition policies to fight urban blight. This study applies parcel level data to a multi-year hybrid modeling structure. A fine-grained analysis is conducted on the dynamic patterns of abandonment and demolition for a unique period of four years before and after the City of Buffalo’s stepped-up demolition efforts. Results showed that proximity to vacant and abandoned properties, sustained over the years, had the greatest impact on the possibility of a property being abandoned. The second greatest positive impact on property abandonment was small lot front size. Results also showed that neighborhood vacancy density had the greatest negative impact on surrounding housing sales prices over the years. There was no significant impact of demolition on housing sales prices. These findings suggested that the City should aim to have more incentive programs that are tailored to control the number of vacant properties, rather than focusing primarily on demolition-oriented programs.