Purpose & Methodology
Baltimore’s housing market typology was developed to assist the City in its efforts to strategically match available public resources to neighborhood housing market conditions. The typology is a critical tool used by the Department of Housing’s Vacants to Value program to address city-wide vacant housing challenges. The typology is also used by the Housing Code Enforcement Division to tailor market interventions and strategies to neighborhood conditions. For example, some activities, such as demolition, may be necessary in distressed markets to bring about change in whole blocks. These activities may be applied more selectively in stable markets on properties that are in danger of slipping into the distressed category without such intervention. The typology is also used to inform local neighborhood planning by helping neighborhood residents understand the housing market forces impacting their communities.
The typology is a housing market classification scheme based on quantitative data and a statistical process called "Cluster Analysis." Cluster analysis is a statistical technique that is applied to data that exhibit “natural” groupings or clusters. A cluster is a group of relatively similar cases or observations. Cluster analysis sorts through the raw data and groups cases with similar data characteristics. “Subjects” in a cluster are relatively similar to each other while collectively being dissimilar to those outside the cluster, particularly subjects in other clusters. The ten variables which define the City’s housing market (see below) were aggregated to the census block group level, allowing for a detailed analysis within traditional City neighborhoods.
To complete the update of the typology, a Task Force was formed to guide and inform the process. The Task Force included representatives from non-profit organizations, foundations and academic institutions, as well as private entities such as banks and private developers. The group met regularly over a period of eight months to discuss the analysis of variables, market types and final results.
This 2014 update of the City’s Housing Market Typology was jointly developed by the Baltimore City Planning Department, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), and The Reinvestment Fund. The project was partially funded through a grant from the Abell Foundation.