Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
What is it they say in financial ads?
The wise money-making scheme we’re selling could make you richer or, well, poorer.
So what many people do is buy a house and hope that, if they can keep up the payments, that house will be worth a lot more money when they can’t keep up the payments anymore.
But how do you know if in, say, 5 years your house will be your secret pot of gold?
You can, though, look to indicators. One appears to be how close your house is to a particular grocery store.
I can feel your innards perform their occasional stimulus-response salsa and dance the Whole Foods fandango.
Surprisingly, though, proximity to a Whole Foods isn’t the best indicator of a home soaring in value.
Instead, as figures emitted by ATTOM Data Solutions show, you need to be near a Trader Joe’s.
ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate analytics company, looked at 1,275 zip codes between 2012 and 2017.
Each enjoyed at least one Whole Foods, one Trader Joe’s and an ALDI.
Those most proximate to an ALDI only enjoyed a 51 percent house-price rise over five years
Those nearest to a Whole Foods pipped the ALDI people by a mere 1 percent.
But those who bathed in the sharp light of a Trader Joe’s watched their houses go up 67 percent in value.
Could it be that the presence of the fine, secretive German-owned store that can sell you water crackers just as good as Carr’s for half the price — or is it one-third? — has a hidden joy for your personal finances?
Could it be that the place where a bottle of Malbec costs half what a glass of Malbec costs at your average steakhouse boosts your precious perch on the property ladder by 13 percent more than the average price appreciation in these 1,275 zip codes? (Yes, the presence of a Whole Foods “helped” prices rise by less than the average.)
Of course, this is mere data. Which can, to my eyes, be merely a form of entertainment.
But why might the presence of a Trader Joe’s lift your numbers?
Is it because Trader Joe’s is very slightly, well, cooler than the now almost-staid Whole Foods?
Is it because the minute a Trader Joe’s comes to town the young, the self-regarding and self-conscious swoop in to partake of its fine ravioli and astonishingly cheap potato chips?
I will leave that you, your lover and your analytics department.
I do wonder, however, what other odd correlational lava might flow from data.
Wouldn’t it be entertaining if, say, a preponderance of Nissans in a neighborhood indicated far greater home price rises than a preponderance of BMWs? (Well, the Nissan people have at least a modicum of judgment.)
And wouldn’t it make your heart perform a Fosbury Flop if areas in which the favored car is a Prius endured the lowest real estate price rises of all?
By Chris Matyszczyk