When Walmart comes to town, opponents often fret that the big box store could lower local wages, put smaller competitors out of business and depress home values.
But new research suggests new Walmart stores may actually drive nearby home prices higher.
In their research, economists Devin Pope at the University of Chicago and Jaren Pope at Brigham Young University studied more than 600,000 housing transactions near 159 new Walmart stores. Homes located within a half mile of a new store saw their prices rise between 2% to 3%, or an average of $7,000, in the two and a half years after a new Walmart store was built.
Homes that were between a half mile and one mile away, saw an increase of 1% to 2%, or roughly $4,000. Any farther away and the increases were statistically insignificant, the report said.
The study looks at the years between 2001 and 2006, a time when most home prices were still rising. But regardless of the nationwide trend, the research revealed a positive correlation between Walmarts and home prices, relative to areas not located close to a Walmart.