Better to own near Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods?

This is a cute bit of non-news. I sort of like it. But, the curmudgeon in me must remind you that it’s nonsense and why.

housepricesupCoincidence and causality are not the same thing. Because the supermarkets are in appreciating neighborhoods does not mean the supermarkets are the cause of the appreciation. Having a supermarket in a neighborhood may or may not change property values. Supermarkets may or may not be choosing to site their stores in a neighborhood because of the property values in that neighborhood. All you really know is that the supermarkets are in neighborhoods that appreciated. The markets may have nothing (or everything) to do with that appreciation.

Look at the data:

Vague data:

This average appreciation data-point is not reliable and probably can’t be replicated, proven, or disproved. The appreciation data has no time-frame. Was this average appreciation over five years, ten years, fifteen years, a combination of time the properties were owned?

The proximity to the supermarkets were, likewise, not noted. It, too, cannot be proven or disproved as a true figure.

Meaningless data:

Nationwide, the average appreciation is 34 percent. Properties near Whole Foods appreciated 34 percent, while properties near Trader Joe’s appreciated 40 percent.

What you now know: Nationwide, the average appreciation over this unknown length of time is 34 percent. Houses in an unknown proximity to Whole Foods had an average appreciation and those someplace near Trader Joe’s did better than average. Plus, there is no proof that the presence of the supermarket had any effect on this housing appreciation. Now that’s a revelation!

The second set of data is less vague, but still rather meaningless.

  • Average American home value = $262,068
  • Average home value near Trader Joe’s = $592,399
  • Average home value near Whole Foods = $561,840
  • Average American property tax = $3,239
  • Average property tax near Trader Joe’s = $8586
  • Average property tax near Whole Foods = $5382

What you now know: Houses someplace near Trader Joe’s or near Whole Foods are, on average, way more expensive than the average American house. The taxes are disproportionately higher in the neighborhoods near Trader Joe’s compared to the neighborhoods near Whole Foods. Why is anybody’s guess.

My neighborhood has both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (right near one another on the same street) less than 1.5 miles away. That disqualified it from this fact-filled study. Does that mean my taxes are 59 percent lower?

Lesson: Don’t expect to learn anything from click-bait real estate posts like this one. 


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