The City of Baltimore’s 2005 Comprehensive Master Plan was the first to be developed by the City in three decades, and Reinvestment Fund’s Market Value Analysis (MVA) was a critical element of the plan to guide the targeted allocation of public resources. Since the first MVA for Baltimore, Reinvestment Fund has updated its analysis three times for Baltimore, offering a unique longitudinal perspective of residential markets in the city.
Working alongside Baltimore’s Planning and Housing Departments, Reinvestment Fund provided leadership with the analysis, while the City engaged civically-involved Baltimoreans and neighborhood organizations along the way to ensure the accuracy of the approach. The symbiotic process between the City and Reinvestment Fund resulted in an analytical tool that quickly emerged as a valuable resource for both.
For the City, the MVA is playing the role of a powerful and proven guide to both daily operations and long-term planning. The MVA guides the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) which funds physical improvement projects. City Departments such as Public Works and Health, applying for CIP funding, use the MVA as a market lens as they develop their project plans. The MVA also allows project planners to understand how a neighborhood’s market can affect their plan and consequently what potential impact the project itself would have on its surrounding market.
Baltimore’s Department of Housing uses the MVA along with a set of graphic contextual overlays to better understand where it needs to focus its activities, from code enforcement to subsidy-balanced residential development. For example, the Vacants to Value initiative uses the MVA as a framework for supporting citywide revitalization. In distressed areas where there are nodes of strength, the city has partnered with for-profit and nonprofit investors to effect whole block solutions. The most mature of these are the “Community Development Clusters,” identified using the MVA, which have seen a 40% reduction in vacancy since the program began.