‘Not in my Backyard!’
The 2015 Refugee Crisis in Germany
This paper exploits the sudden mass arrival of refugees to Germany in 2015 to study potential price penalties suffered by residential property in vicinity of refugee reception centers (RRCs). Using novel data on exact locations of publicly-run RRCs in 2014 and 2015 and monthly offers of single-family homes for sale from Germany’s leading online property broker ImmobilienScout24, we find strong evidence in spatial DiD regressions for a sizeable negative effect on house price growth in proximity to such sites. Detached and semi-detached houses located within a 15-minute walking distance of RRCs exhibit, on average, 13 percentage points lower price growth than comparable dwellings beyond this threshold. We corroborate our finding in a battery of robustness tests and additional explorations, including sample restrictions that consider exclusively property on offer for sale within 40 minutes walking distance to RRCs and exogenous variation in the exposure to such sites. ‘Not in my backyard’ (NIMBY) stances among the resident population may explain our finding.
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