As frugal as I aspire to be (and yes, I do want to get better at it!), I do have my spending weaknesses. One of them is coffee. Well, it actually might be tea. Regardless, it manifests itself in occasional visits to coffee shops.
I enjoy going to them from time to time, in order to get some work done in a relaxed setting. It’s not for everyone, and not even for me all the time, but sometimes I do enjoy getting a coffee or tea while accomplishing some things. Had the opportunity to do just that the other day, when my oldest was at an event that took several hours (and parents weren’t allowed there).
Actually, I couldn’t imagine not living near conveniences such as this. I realize that growing up, I never had anything like this. However, with the hectic pace of daily life, these are the types of things that just seem to be a part of the landscape. No matter that I’m actually eating most meals at home, and working on an otherwise healthy diet (more on that in another post).
Anyway, apparently others value these types of things too. According to this interesting article on Yahoo! Finance, homes in close proximity to a Starbucks have been more likely to increase in value.
Now, with any analysis such as this, there could be any number of questions. The first is the whole chicken or egg concept. What truly drove these home prices to go up? Is correlation an indicator of causation?
There could a variety of variables that could factor into this correlation. Maybe there are other amenities or a similar profile that tends to accompany Starbucks in a community (disposable income, etc.) that play a role.
Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t surprise me to read something like this. I distinctly remember a conversation with a couple who was looking for a house some years ago, where they were describing why they liked a certain community that happened to be very different from where they had been living. The guy said, when talking about what they really wanted (paraphrased): “It would be great to be able to wake up on a Saturday morning and just go the Starbucks a block or two away”.
No mention of anything else right away, just the idea of being in a cozy suburb with a little downtown that had a Starbucks within walking distance.
Personally, I would like to think I put more value on:
- School systems (see discussion of good schools or nicer home),
- Proximity to employment centers
- Proximity to downtown (I live in the Chicago area)
But you know, even though they aren’t important, coffee shops such as Starbucks and other dining establishments do add to a community. I think that going through my past expenses might attest to my past behavior being consistent with that sentiment!
So I have to ask you:
What attributes are important to you when evaluating a community?
Are you surprised by the results of this study?