The old adage that real estate is all about "location, location, location" still rings true, even in our increasingly connected and far-flung lives. What's surprising, though, is all the unthinkable facets of location that have a real effect on the price of a home. Realtor.com brought to light the eight strangest drivers of home value. These aren't just best guesses - every one of these factors is supported by data. Once your home inspection is complete and you're ready to sell, take a look at this list to see if you have an upper hand on the competition.
Understanding the national housing market and it's upswings and downturns is difficult even for esteemed economists to fully grasp, so don't feel bad if you are still having trouble with supply vs. demand. It turns out there are more tangible factors that have a measurable effect on home prices. The price of gas is one of them. When gas is cheap, home prices tend to jump, and these properties even tend to sell faster than normal, according to a joint study by Longwood University and Florida Atlantic University. Researchers found that for every dollar decrease in a gallon of gas, the average price of a home rose by $4,000 on average. Those listings also spent around 25 less days on the market than during times of greater gas turmoil. The reasons for this behavior can be attributed to greater consumer confidence during times of cheap gas, since this tends to allow for expendable income. Real estate agents are also more likely to travel extensively when it is cheaper to drive from place to place.
Proximity to a grocery store is always a good indicator of strong value, but research from RealtyTrac shows the store brand may be just as important. In an analysis of home values in hundreds of ZIP codes around the country, RealtyTrac found homes located in the same area as a Trader Joe's store appreciated at a higher rate than those near a Whole Foods location. While the latter appreciated at the same rate as the average American home (34 percent), Trader Joe's seemed to make homes appreciate at 40 percent. The caveat to this is that Trader Joe's neighborhoods also had higher property taxes, 59 percent higher on average than those near a Whole Foods. Something worth keeping in mind when looking to buy or sell.
Sports are a big deal. Did you know that people will pay a premium for a home in close proximity to their favorite team, though? According to a study by the College of William and Mary with University of Alberta, this is indeed the case. In fact, a house that's just a mile closer to a sports venue than another comparable home will sell for almost $800 more on average. The researchers found this effect diminishes quickly, however, and after going four miles away from a stadium disappears completely.
In Colorado and Washington, it's another form of recreation that's drawing a buzz among the real estate community. Since these states have legalized the sale and use of marijuana, the value of their housing stock has soared higher than ever. Realtor.com found that average home prices have risen more than 20 percent in Colorado since legalizing marijuana in January 2014. The gain in Washington was more modest, at just 7.3 percent, although this state did not legalize until July 2014.