Bryn Parsons (left) and Gavin Gregory (not pictured)
Congratulations to Bryn Parsons (M.A. Economics – Data Science Specialization) and Gavin Gregory (M.A. Economics – Data Science Specialization) who received the Huntley Schaller Award for their paper, “Estimating the Impact of the City Building Fund on House Prices in Toronto”.
We analyze the impact of the Toronto City Building Fund on house prices in Toronto. We take a difference in difference approach using quarterly house price data to select communities that lie close to the municipal border. In thisquasi-experimental design, we focused on homogenous neighborhoods on both sides of Toronto municipal border with the only difference being that houses within the Toronto municipal border are now subject to the new tax. We generated a script to automate data extraction from more than 1000 pdf reports posted on the Toronto Real Estate Board website to generate a dataset covering 8 years before and after the tax change. We test two model structures on these communities, and in both we find that the effect of the tax is not significant. Expanding our sample to include all GTA communities does not change the results. We conclude that the tax likely had little to no effect on house prices.