Looking for serious real estate upside? Search for homes near new museums

One economist said museums bring a 20 to 50% price boost

Nov.November 23, 2018 11:00 AM

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Credit: Getty Images)

They say artists find the hot neighborhoods first. But it turns out, art museums are pretty good for real estate values, too.

In cities around the world, new museums are bolstering real estate prices thanks to buyers who want to live near cultural landmarks. And new museums also bring corporate employees and tourists to the local retail and restaurant scene.

In fact, Stephen Sheppard, an economics professor at Williams College, told the Wall Street Journal that new museums can boost property values by 20 percent to 50 percent within five years.

In Chattanooga, Tenn., that’s what’s happened to homes near the Hunter Museum of American Art. The average sale price for properties within three-quarters of a mile of the museum was $573,000 in July 2018, up from $271,000 in 2016, according to the local multiple listing service.

Meanwhile, in the Berkshires, out-of-state buyers are jockeying for property near the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Although the most expensive homes cost near the museum go for around $250,000, time on the market dropped to 98 days in 2018, from 256 in 2016. “Anything within walking distance to Mass MoCA is exploding,” said Kim Burnham, a local agent. [WSJ]E.B. Solomont

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