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How Affordable Is Worcester Housing: New Research Bureau Report

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

 

Are non-profits adversely impacting the tax base in Worcester? According to a report released today by the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, the hospitals and colleges are becoming huge landowners and the impact is significant and growing.

“Over the past ten years, the value of tax-exempt property has grown as a percentage of total Worcester property value. The substantial increase between 2011 and 2012 is the result of the revaluation of all property; all tax-exempt properties are currently being reviewed. At present, there is $4.4 billion worth of land in Worcester from which the municipal government receives no property taxes,” says the report.  

Worcester is known as a big college town and a growing healthcare center.

“The issue of the tax rate isn't anything new.  We have a good chunk of tax exempt property," said Roberta Schaefer, Executive Director of the Research Bureau.  "The non-profits are of course vital not only to the city, but surrounding areas.  The suburbs are dependent on the cities, and Worcester, for those institutions — hospitals, universities. Without them the suburbs wouldn't be able to survive."  

Affordability

Worcester is one of the most affordable cities in the region. The Research Report finds that homeownership is a real opportunity for local residents.

“In Worcester, 43.1% of owner-occupied households spent more than 30% on selected monthly ownership costs. This percentage was the second lowest among the seven cities surveyed, indicating homeownership in Worcester is more affordable than elsewhere,” said the report.

See the 10 key findings of the report on the slides below.

 

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