Walmart: Great for Bargains, Great for Home Prices

A new study says the mega-retailer boosts nearby home values by as much as 3 percent

615_Walmart_Reuters.jpg
(Reuters)

Few things are capable of riling up a wealthy, left-leaning community quite like the prospect of Walmart coming to town. But while nobody likes it when a big box store puts the neighborhood pharmacist, grocer, and florist out of business, here's something the mega-retailer's detractors might want to consider: Having a Walmart can apparently do wonders for local home values.

The finding comes from a new working paper by economists at the University of Chicago and Brigham Young Unviersity, who looked at the impact on house prices of 159 separate Walmarts that opened between 2000 and 2006. Home values within a half mile of a new store got a 2 and 3 percent boost. Within a mile, the store pushed up values 1 to 2 percent. That translated to a $7,000 average bump for nearby homes and $4,000 for houses a little further away. 

To figure out whether Walmart was influencing the market, or if other factors were at play, the authors compared what happened to home values closest a new store to the way home values changed just a couple miles further away. That allowed them to contrast similar stretches of real estate where the main difference was the distance to the new shopping outlet. The nearer to the Walmart a house was, the more its price jumped compared to homes that were further out.  

So Walmart: Bad for local color, but good your personal finances. Worth the trade-off? 

Presented by

Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In