Does a Politically Incorrect Street Name Affect Home Value? – Part II

In July 2006 I wrote a blog article titled “Austin Street Names – Does a Politically Incorrect Street Name Affect Home Value?”. I was simply curious whether or not street names such as Gun Fight, Shoot Out and Gattling Gun would dissuade buyers from purchasing a home on a street so named, and if such a factor would manifest in lower sales prices for homes located on streets with unpleasant names. The result of my analysis was somewhat inconclusive, and I left it at that.

Recently, that blog article has been mentioned twice on the Freakonomics Blog (which I am stoked about!), first in an article titled “Do Street Names Matter” and again in a follow-up article “More on Street Names and Property Values“.

This has renewed my interest in the topic and I’ve decided to take my previous analysis to a more detailed level and see what we find.

I decided to stick with the same south Austin neighborhood, Shady Hollow, because it has a good concentration of homes in a condensed area, some with non-offensive street names and others with street names that some could find bothersome. Since most of the Politically Incorrect street names in Shady Hollow are clustered in Section 6 of the subdivision and built in the same mid to late 1980’s time span (and attend the same schools), I was able to make a better comparison of homes than I did the first time by limiting the analysis to just the Shady Hollow homes in Section 6. That section of Shady Hollow is comprised of streets with the following names:

Ammunition Dr, Blacksmith Ln, Boothill Dr, Capsicum Cv, Deputy Dr, Festus Dr, Fort Worth Trl, Gatling Gun Ln, Gun Fight Ln, Gun Powder Ct, Holster Ct, Perennial Ct, Sasparilla Cv, Sesbania Dr, Sheriff Ct, Shoot Out Ct, Shotgun Ln, Six Gun Trl, Whiskey River Dr.

This is where the analysis becomes a bit subjective. Which of those names is offensive, or potentially politically incorrect? I’m going with Ammunition, Gatling Gun, Gun Fight, Gun Powder, Shoot Out, Shotgun, Six Gun. Whiskey River was a close call, but it’s not gun related, so I decided to stay consistent.

I performed two searches of past sales and found that there is NOT a significant difference in sales prices based on the street names.

In fact, the two sets of data are surprisingly similar. Even though I know at least one person (my wife and boss Sylvia) who swears she would never live on a street named “Gun Fight”, my analysis does not reveal the real estate market in general to have an aversion to such names. The non-PC homes did take a bit longer to sell, but the average price per square foot is nearly the same in both sets of data.

This doesn’t mean that names don’t affect marketability of a home. It simply means that in the case of this particular neighborhood, with this particular set of names, the homes with gun related names don’t appear to suffer a penalty.

Shady Hollow Sales History from 2001 through 5/17/2007
Politically Incorrect Streets
Non Offensive Street Names
Number Sold
Low Sale
Average Sale
High Sale
Average SQFT Size
Days on Market
Avg per Square Foot
Avg Year Built

5 thoughts on “Does a Politically Incorrect Street Name Affect Home Value? – Part II”

  1. Great study, guys!

    What is your take on a street name that is misspelled on the MLS to be offensive (a current listing on the Austin MLS should be Shiraz Rd but is typed Shitraz Rd)? It makes me laugh, but it might not make a buyer laugh if they think they have to live on a street named after fecal matter (even if it is a typo)… Thoughts?

  2. I actually LOVE the names of the streets! This Texas-born girl would purposely buy a house on any one of them if I lived South. I have shown properties in that area and have had several people comment on how cool those names were and how much they liked them!

  3. When we moved to Austin, my husband said we couldn’t look at any houses on Convict Hill Rd. because he didn’t like the street name. I just figured it was Old West-ish and it didn’t bother me.

    I’m curious what you think of appreciation potential in the Oak Hill area with AMD moving all those employees in? Do you think there will be any noticeable increase in interest or appreciation in SW Austin between Jan-April next year when all the employees are filling up the new buildings?

  4. hmmm – I might be picky about that, depending on the name and how much I liked the house. There’s a street nearby called Gravesend (creepy), and another one called Eagle’s Nest.

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