More on Street Names and Property Values

A while ago Levitt posed the question of whether the name of a street (such as “Pleasant Avenue” or “Massacre Lane”) could have an effect on the price of its real estate. Now, it turns out, there’s more data on the subject: The Edmonton Journal reports that a study by a Canadian real-estate analyst found a “a small but noteworthy negative effect between a badly named street and the perceived market value of the homes or businesses on it.” The data were gathered by Murtaza Haider, a business professor and director of Ryerson University’s Institute of Housing and Mobility, who examined the property values of 300 houses located on or near Toronto’s exclusive Bloor Street. Controlling for size, he found that listing “Bloor” in the physical address boosted the property’s market value by adding a “statistically significant premium.” The article also cites the research compiled by Texas realtors Sylvia and Steve Crossland that Levitt mentioned in his discussion.

Haider’s study leaves at least one question unanswered. While the data may in fact be correct, it doesn’t seem to account for the possibility that a property’s proximity to Bloor Street was simply an indicator of a good neighborhood as signaled by the street name, as opposed to the street name being a per se indicator of higher resale value.


ThePedanticPrick

This is completely unrelated to the question Levitt posed. He wanted to know whether the name itself would affect the real estate price. That the real estate on a "posh" street would cost more is hardly news to anyone.

metroplexual

Hey I live near "Shades of Death" road which is down the road from "Buzzards Glory". The prices are still outrageous!

furiousball

I agree Melly Mel, school system, crime rates, etc. those are the things that weigh heavily and kind of make these findings bunk without them.

brandie

I am hoping that the interest generated by these studies will invoke someone to do a more nationalized study. I think it would be particularly interesting to see the sale prices of homes that were purchased by "out of towners" who may not give any great weight to being on Bloom St or whatever.

A much wider data sample would help show that even in subdivisions where the environment is absolutely identical, names do (or do not) play a part.

ajkrik

"Haider's study leaves at least one question unanswered."
Ya think? How 'bout: How do you measure "noteworthy"? How do you measure "badly"? Is 300 a sample size large enough to really determine what the effect of street name has on the price of a home? How do you know colors or tree types or hot women washing their cars across the street the day you go house or business shopping aren't variables? Since "bad" and "good" are culturally established, have micro-cultural factors of value been considered in defining what is "good vs bad vs neutral"?
And the biggest question I have (not being an "economist") is "Why is this at all significant?"
(Although I admit it is thought provoking.)

Maybe I should read all these posts again.

egretman

This is not a road, pun intended, that we want to go down, people!

Otherwise, we will all be forced in the future to live on Fuzzy Kitten Street or Fortune Way. And before long, insurance companies will set your rates based on your street name. And middle-class white people will be afraid to visit their grandmothers who happen to live on any thing less than the innocuously named Main Street.

So please, stop the studies now.

CrunchyFrog

When I was shopping, I almost subconsciously avoided homes on a street called "Devils Reach." I also personally didn't want to live on Elysian Dr., but no one else seems to be bothered by the connection with death (especially not the French).

amit

In the case of Bloor St., it's not exclusivity that's the seller it's the convenience.

The main subway line is along Bloor, as are most shops and services. It's considered where the "action" is.

amit

...also, the RSS feed for this site is not updating.

rlmthree

I would think a study of home prices on streets named like notable events or people before and after their notoriety could be conclusive. Dahmer Ave, Hindenberg Lane, Apollo Blvd., etc.

ChrisB

When I bought a house last July I considered the neighborhood name -- "Devil's Elbow" -- to be a not-so-insignificant plus.

ekimeniac

The problem is it is hard to compare how prices vary because the street's name doesn't change.

I wonder if you will find a drop or increase in prices that does not allign with market changes if a street is renamed. Do home values go up when they change the name from Devil's Lane to Kennedy St.

Or better yet, check to see if prices for Elm St. dropped during the 80's. And see if those prices changed differently then the market. I heard of plenty of people that avoided homes just because of A Nightmare On Elm Street.

strusins

"Otherwise, we will all be forced in the future to live on Fuzzy Kitten Street or Fortune Way. "

Seriously, this is too silly to make up... I'm working on development of some land I own, and I'm calling the new street through the subdivision "Boo Kitty Lane" because my cat, Boo, is buried in the field there. It started as a bit of a joke, figuring I'd sell the project and someone would rename it. Now it seems I may build it out, so I have to seriously consider whether or not a street with this name could affect property values, hence my bottom line.

Puplet

There's a street in Hull called 'Land of Green Ginger'. If I was married, and wanted a divorce, that's where I'd get my lawyer.

Fi Fie Fo Fum...

Josh

I noticed a street sign in New Jersey one time for "Industrial Way East." Say that three times fast.

frankenduf

street names don't matter- there are plenty of people that live on skid row

daveb

Irrelevant, but apropos of Josh's comment, there was a few years ago a short-lived (you'll see why in a minute) middle-of-the-night ad in the SF Bay Area for a cremation service called "Lasting Dignity". Try pronouncing THAT three times.

Adam

I know that in my city people dont want to buy on state named streets, and we have a few named things like "arsenal" which automatically turns off some buyers. As a St. Louis Missouri real estate agent, I have written at www.wizah.com about the different areas of St. Louis Missouri and why they are more popular.

meankim

I'm planning to do my honours dissertation on this topic in singapore. It is possible to study this phenomenon through multiple regression analysis, where you isolate the variable street name and see if there is any correlation to price. It is also possible to support any findings by doing a survey or focus group studies. Lets see how it goes!

www.reddoorhomeloans.com

Albeit a probable small statistical premium paid for a "good" street name versus a "blah" street name, I think that there is something to this. People are always trying to differentiate themselves. That is why they will run out and buy the latest fashionable cell phone when their old cell phone worked just fine. I believe that unique, tasteful street names would command a small premium over dull street names.

I also think that long street names have the opposite effect. I used to live on "Cotton Green Path Drive." I often had trouble with address fields not accepting my complete address because the address was too long. I now have a subtle subconscious aversion to long street names, which I would guess is universal, even though most would not consciously realize it. Short, unique, tasteful street names would certainly seem to command a small premium.