Need a Home Value Increase? Just Add Starbucks! News & Opinion

Need a Home Value Increase? Just Add Starbucks!


According to a CNBC report, a Harvard study is finding that Starbucks can actually increase the value of your home. Sound hokey? I thought so, too. Let’s take a closer look at what they found.

Just the Facts

  • A Harvard Business School study analyzed data using Yelp
  • There is a correlation between a new Starbucks store and a 0.5% increase in home value within a year
  • The data is part of a larger study on gentrification
  • Gentrification is the process of renovating or improving a housing development or neighborhood so that it rises in value and/or “conforms to middle-class tastes”

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Harvard Business School has an ongoing study of gentrification. This essentially involves improving a housing area or development to make it more attractive to middle- or upper-class residents. By its nature, that means higher home values. It often involves displacing poorer residents who can no longer afford to live there. It’s a sensitive issue an often results from an intentional push by city development teams.

One interesting data point in the study—to us—included coffee shops. In particular, the presence of a new Starbucks seems to correlate with a 0.5% annual increase in home values. The original report cites a bunch of quotes that talk about causality. While I understand their need for caution, it’s more confusing than it needs to be.

Which Came First…?

Realistically, Starbucks probably isn’t causing a rise in home values. It’s more likely that Starbucks conducts market research, sees an increase in potential customers in an area, and decides to put in a store. It’s the same process that every retailer goes through when they’re considering a move into a market.

Starbucks simply has a customer base with more disposable income. How else can you justify a $5 cup of coffee when you can make it at home much cheaper? That kind of income belongs to the middle and upper classes. Starbucks, Panera Bread, Jason’s Deli, and the like aren’t going to plop down in the middle of the low socioeconomic part of town and hope their customers move in after the fact.

Just observing our city between Tampa and Orlando, Starbucks can be the beginning, though. It’s not unusual to see them move into an area that’s in the early stages of an upswing, drawing middle-class customers and college students. During gentrification, a new Starbucks can signal an upswing for home values in that community. If other higher class restaurants and stores follow suit, that trend will likely continue as long as there are no major hiccups in the overall housing market.

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What’s the Takeaway?

When you see a new Starbucks come in, that’s good news if you’re ready to act. Here are 4 possible scenarios:

  • Current homeowners: Property values rise, giving you a better sales price when you’re ready to move on. By making some improvements early, you’ll be helping spur the uptick in value.

Remodeling Ideas And Home Improvement Projects: What Pays Off?

  • Prospective homeowners: Get in early before prices begin to rise. Just be prepared to do some work on the home.
  • Landlords/property management firms: Take advantage of lower prices early on and update the home so it’s attractive to renters who aren’t in a position to buy but want to be in a nicer neighborhood.
  • Developers/builders: Scoop up available lots and hang on to them while prices move up to the price point you want to build. Look for opportunities to renovate an existing home that you can turn around in a reasonable amount of time.

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Elmo NibleyAmos Kingsbury Recent comment authors
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Elmo Nibley
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Elmo Nibley

I think the ethical controversy surrounding gentrification could largely be eliminated by automatically freezing property taxes for homeowners age 50 and up (and full exemption at 65 & beyond, just for good measure). That way folks aren’t forced to relocate in their later years. The city will have their opportunity to adjust property tax values when the property changes hands. Honestly, I think property taxes are evil and is coerced theft. If property can be taxed, then you really don’t “own” it, you’re merely paying a rent-tax to the city/county. The elimination of private property is the first plank of… Read more »

Amos Kingsbury
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Put in a HD or Lowe’s nearby.Property values went way up in Wesley Chapel Florida in 2003.