Henry Renski is an associate professor of Regional Planning in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at UMass Amherst. Thomas Peake is a Research Analyst at the UMass Donahue Institute. In this post they discuss their study of baseline real estate conditions in the three communities currently designated to host a casino in Massachusetts.
In 2015, the UMass Donahue Institute produced a series of host community economic profiles for the cities of Everett and Springfield, Massachusetts and the town of Plainville, Massachusetts. The goal of these reports was to document the historical trends in various economic indicators prior to the opening of the casinos. The baseline real estate conditions reports now being posted are intended to serve as companions to those profiles, with a focus on past trends in residential and commercial real estate in each of the host communities and their designated surrounding communities.
The first section of each report covers residential real estate indicators. These include residential property sales and sales prices, residential vacancy rates and rents, and building permits. In the analysis of residential property sales, a spatial analysis component is built into the report to show how sales and sales prices vary across communities. The second section of each report focuses on commercial and industrial real estate. Drawing information from the CoStar real estate database, we focus on inventory, square footage, vacancy rates, and rents in the host and surrounding communities as well as in the broader regions surrounding the host communities.
These reports serve to highlight the unique challenges and opportunities facing the three host communities and the communities that surround them. For example, multi-family homes comprise a far greater share of Everett’s real estate market than most Massachusetts communities. Over the last decade, Plainville has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of commercial buildings, and an even larger increase in the amount of commercial square footage, as several large retail stores have been built around the site of the new slots parlor. And both commercial lease rates and commercial real estate prices are far lower in Springfield than in Massachusetts as a whole. We hope that these observations, along with many others documented in our reports, will help to provide context for policymakers and the general public as the casinos continue to be developed and real estate conditions in these communities continue to change.