Why Neighbors May Want to Welcome Wal-Mart With Open Arms

Two assistant professors from the University of Chicago and BYU have found that the addition of a Wal-Mart store in a neighborhood can raise the value of homes within a mile of the store, reports Mary Ellen Podmolik.

Brothers Devin and Jaren Pope, who are assistant professors at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and Brigham Young University respectively, were researching "the effect of cell towers, airports and steel mills on property values" when they decided to extend their analysis to the effect of Wal-Mart stores on property values. Mary Ellen Podmolik reports on their newly published findings, "that values increase an average of 2 to 3 percent for homes within half a mile of a Wal-Mart store and 1 to 2 percent when the home is a half mile to 1 mile from a store."

Even though Wal-Mart tends to be charged with hurting small businesses and the local community, Devin Pope says, "...what's nice about looking at housing values is that housing values reflect the positive and the negative of what a Wal-Mart can bring. It gives a nice way of looking at the net effect of Wal-Mart."

"‘On average, the benefits to quick and easy access to the lower retail prices offered by Wal-Mart and shopping at these other stores appear to matter more to households than any increase in crime, traffic and congestion, noise and light pollution or other negative externalities that would be capitalized into housing prices,' the professors wrote."

Thanks to Akemi Leung

Full Story: The Wal-Mart effect on homes

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