Location Matters, But Does Name?


Yesterday, the Atlantic Cities website published an amusing piece wondering whether home value is affected by the street it’s on is called a “street” or, say, “lane”. Apparently a report by Trulia found that homes are worth the most is they’re on an avenue (average $117 per square foot) while they sell for the least on those humble “streets” ($86 per square foot).

This got GM wondering, would Georgetown homes be worth more if Georgetown still had the old street names? The street designation was the same with the old street names, but the given names, so to speak, were more distinctive (for the most part, that is, the east-west streets west of Wisconsin were just numbered first through eighth).

To test this theory, GM looked at the last three years of real estate sales in Georgetown and split them into two groups: streets with either letters or numbers (e.g. 30th or P St.) and streets with some other name (e.g. Dumbarton or Volta).

Before crunching the numbers, GM guessed that the second group would have a higher price. There is something more distinctive about living on a street with a name like Poplar Place versus a street like GM’s own 33rd.

But it turns out the opposite is true, but only barely so.

Homes in the first group have an average price per square foot of $713.93, while homes in the second are just below at $703.89. So before today, you probably never thought about the impact street names might have on home value. And apparently you were right to do so.


Filed under Real Estate

4 responses to “Location Matters, But Does Name?

  1. That’s really interesting. I would have felt sure that the “name” streets would fetch a higher price than the letter or number streets.

  2. Q St Neighbor

    I also would have thought the named streets might have higher prices, because they tend to be quieter.

  3. Topher

    Well to be fair, it wasn’t exactly scientific (nor really was the Trulia one). A lot of the “named” street homes were condos on Prospect or in the Paper Mill. That may be skewing the numbers downward. (Although, are condos really cheaper per square foot?)

  4. Nemo

    When I first came to Georgetown, evidence of earlier street signage was still in place. One some street corners, four-sided translucent glass panels fitted below the “Washington Globe” street lights carried the names of the intersecting streets, and sometimes the name of the “Old Georgetown” street, too. Visitation School has an Old Georgetown street name in the form of a marble stone set in the wall at the corner of what is now 35th and “P” Streets. The former street names carved in the stone are Third and Fayette, as I recall. Why not bring back the old street names, at least as an “add-on” to the existing signage? Better still, why not bring back the old glass signs and the Old Georgetown names — they would add a touch of distinction to “The Village.” There must be plenty of photos around depicting the design. Isn’t this something the Georgetown BID might be able to finance?

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