Why do we park on driveways, and drive on parkways? While the answer to that question seems to be obvious, one may wonder if there is a value difference between a home located on different kinds of roads? For instance, is there a value difference between being located on a street, an avenue, or a boulevard?
The answer really depends on many factors. Before we delve into the search for the answer to that question, let us first talk about what the names of different types of roads may indicate. A road can be anything that connects one place to another. Below are types of roads and some definitions of them that I have found in researching this topic. Full disclosure, these descriptions may not be inclusive of every area in the country.
PARKWAY – A parkway is a major public road, which is often decorated. It is sometimes part of a highway. Parkway’s often have traffic lights.
AVENUES – Avenues typically run opposite to streets, directionally speaking. For instance, if streets in a neighborhood are running east and west, the avenues will usually run north and south. Avenues and streets are often used interchangeably for directions. Avenues are typically found in higher density areas.
STREETS – A street usually connects buildings together. Streets are typically found in higher density areas, like avenues. Streets are typically run the opposite of avenues, as mentioned above.
BOULEVARDS – A boulevard is a street with trees down the middle or on both sides. They are often wider than other types of roads. Boulevards, at least in my market, often have larger lots than other types of roads. Due to the desirable trees and larger lots, boulevards often have a better market appeal than other types of roads. (Though there are other reasons for that, which we will discuss later) Boulevards are often in medium to higher density areas.
COURT – A court that usually ends in a cul-de-sac or small loop.
DRIVE – A drive is typically a longer winding road that is often shaped by the environment, like mountains, lakes and other natural factors. A drive is also used to describe many other kinds of roads. Drives are often found in suburban areas. Sometimes drives are private roads. You may have seen signs that say, “private drive”.
LANE – A lane is often a narrow street that lacks a median. Lanes are often found in lower density areas that are suburban or rural in nature. Lanes often lead to a residential area.
In my market, there are some neighborhoods that have thrown caution to the wind, with no apparent rhyme or reason for why one road is called an avenue, the other a lane, a drive and yet another a boulevard. See how many kinds of roads are named in the map below.
Clearly, in this type of scenario, what a road is named, is not going to have any difference in market value. However, sometimes there is a correlation between differences in values and the types of streets that homes are located on.
Here is an example. I pulled all single-family sales that have sold on West Blvd., in this Cleveland neighborhood, within the past two years. The median sales price is $119,500. Then I pulled all single-family sales that sold one street east, on W. 100th Street. The median sales prices on this street is $83,750.
What are the primary differences in these streets? Lot sizes, for one. Lot sizes of homes on West Blvd., are double the size of those on W. 100th Street. Larger lots can make a street more desirable to the market, not just because of the increased utility of a larger lot, but also the appearance of the street as one drives down it.
It’s interesting that in this neighborhood, the labeling of the streets is more traditional. Notice that “streets” run north and south and “avenues” run east and west. This has nothing to do with value. I just thought I would point it out.
Here is a street view from Google Maps showing what the street on West Blvd. looks like.
Here is a street view from Google Maps showing what the street on W. 100th Street looks like.
Do you see any differences? Which is more desirable to you? There is no right or wrong answer. One of the reasons homes on West Blvd. are selling for more is related to lot size. However, a street with homes that are not as close to one another can add to the overall market appeal of the street, which can have an impact on market value.
Let’s look a little deeper now. If you do some research, you will find that the contributory value of the land is relatively low in this neighborhood. If that is the case, then there must be additional reasons for why homes on West Boulevard are selling for more than on W. 100th Street. Can you think of any other salient features of a home that have a major impact on market value? How about gross living area?
The average gross living area of homes on West Boulevard, based upon all the single-family sales that have sold on that street within the past two years, is 1,958 sq. ft. The average gross living area for homes on W. 100th Street is 1,183 sq. ft. Clearly, the differences in gross living area play a part in the differences in value. This makes sense, since you can build larger homes on larger lots, like West Boulevard offers. As you may also have gathered, the price per square foot for gross living area is also relatively low in this neighborhood, in comparison to other neighborhoods on the west side of Cleveland.
When we look closer, we can see that, while there is a correlation between home prices being higher on a boulevard vs. a street or avenue, the real causes are more specific, like lot size, and even more specifically gross living area. It is the whole correlation versus causation situation, we may have learned about in school statistics classes.
Let’s look at one more example, in a different city. This time, we will look at sales of single-family homes, that have sold in the past two years, on two roads in the city of Pepper Pike. The first being Shaker Boulevard and the second on South Woodland Road.
In this comparison, there is much less of a value difference. However, it appears that the slight differences may be attributed to lot size, and gross living area. In this area, land has a higher contributory value than in the neighborhood in Cleveland, in the earlier comparison. There is also much less of a distinction in the feel of these two roads. They both feel relatively comparable as far as market appeal. Here are some views of these two streets.
The Google street view of South Woodland Road is on the left, and Shaker Boulevard is on the right. Pretty similar, don’t you think?
So, back to our original question. Does being located on a street, avenue or boulevard make a difference in value? It really depends on the neighborhood and the characteristics of the street. Clearly, it can. But not in every case. If there are differences, the differences may be attributed to things other just the type of street they are on. I hope this article has given you something fun to think about, that’s related to value.
By the way, why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways? This guy offers an answer that is interesting.
Inquiring minds also want to know if the name of the city can have an impact on home values? I will save that discussion for another day. My family took a road trip from Cleveland to Branson, MO to socially isolate, in a different place. On the way, I saw these billboards, which caused me to ask the question. What do you think?
Wherever you live, and whatever type of road you live on, I hope that you’re staying safe and happy!
Thanks for reading my blog!
I hope you have a great two weeks! Be safe out there!
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Here are some links to other articles and podcasts I’ve enjoyed recently! I hope you will also…
The Lockdown Has Relegated Housing To Background Noise – Housing Notes by Jonathan Miller
Don’t hold your breath for a COVID discount – Sacramento Appraisal Blog
Why Can’t The Appraiser Include Basement In The Price Per Square Foot? – Birmingham Appraisal Blog
Strange Appraisal Terms; Appraiser Makes $280k Per Year; Mosaic Homes – APPRAISAL TODAY
June Newsletter – Summer Time is Here While Supply & Volume Show Big Declines in Housing Market – DW Slater Blog
What’s Your Time Worth? – Blaine Feyen on Appraisal Buzz
Tables Turned – Dustin is Interviewed by Tim Andersen – The Appraiser Coach PODCAST
States & Graphs: George Dell Talks SWOT! Their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. What’s Up With Residential Real Estate Appraisal Right Now! – Tim Andersen’s Appraiser’s Advocate PODCAST