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In The News: When tax abatements expire, property values don't suffer, study shows

Philadelphia's current housing boom is certainly attributable to the 10-year tax abatement, yet the very mention of it can lead to complaints that the abatement favors the very rich - both buyers and developers.

Real estate agents and developers don't see it that way.

In fact, at a fall meeting of the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia, members not only vowed to support the tax abatement but also advocated that it be expanded.

"Why take the bread out of the oven before it is baked?" asked developer Carl Dranoff, who with Center City District executive director Paul Levy and developer Ron Rubin lobbied the Rendell administration for the abatement in the mid-1990s.

"It is an annuity for the city, bringing in $2 for every $1 it forgoes," Dranoff said.

Without the abatement, said Noah Ostroff, of Keller Williams Philly Realty, "many buyers wouldn't be able to afford as high-priced a home, and developers wouldn't be able to sell for the higher prices, in turn, not allowing developers to pay the land prices needed to make the deals make sense."

"Each $1,000 in property taxes per year is equivalent to about $18,000 of buying power for a buyer on a 30-year mortgage," Ostroff said.

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