Let’s face it, if you drive past a Waitrose it’s quite likely that you’re passing through a fairly well-to-do middle class area. Whilst other food retailers don’t have quite the same status-affirming presence, a Waitrose gives off an unmistakeable air of ‘middle-class-ness’. However, recent research has suggested that the presence of the supermarket does not just reflect on the brand values we associate with Waitrose: it can actually have a positive impact on house prices in the surrounding area!
Not only does a property close to a Waitrose store cost £456,000 on average (over twice as much as the UK average of £221,254), but prices in the local area will typically have gone up by 7% in the past twelve months. Focusing on the South London district of Streatham, where Waitrose opened its first supermarket in 1955, the average price of a house is now £461,000. That’s not only higher than the average Waitrose effect, but demonstrates an increase of over 11,000% in just over sixty years.
Looking at the other end of the property market, Wolverhampton properties surrounding the city’s Waitrose store have the lowest average price of any region at just £118,000. However, this is still a 9% increase over the past year, significantly more than the 6% rise seen in Wolverhampton overall.
The impact of desirable amenities on property prices may be nothing new, but the power that Waitrose stores in particular clearly hold is surely something many will have underestimated. Whilst it’s true that the chain often places its stores in areas already considered affluent, the numbers prove that a Waitrose branch can in fact have a significant positive impact on surrounding property values.
Perhaps it says more about what the average UK resident deems important in 2016 than anything else, but it’s also a phenomenon that those looking to buy or sell property can’t afford to ignore. Next time you’re looking in the estate agent window at the latest properties and their asking prices, think about whether a certain middle-class supermarket is near to any of them – maybe you can already see ‘the Waitrose effect’ happening not all that far from you.