Happy opening day to our San Francisco Giants. To celebrate, here’s some ambivalent housing news.
According to a study conducted by Trulia, the SoMa blocks around AT&T Park are the most expensive real estate within walking distance of a major league ballpark anywhere in the United States. Hmm. It's great to be number one?
In general, though certainly not always, American ballparks gravitate toward rich neighborhoods, and even contribute to a district's upward mobility. Trulia found that in 18 of 29 cases (Toronto wasn't included), the zone within a mile of the ballpark had significantly higher home values and rent prices. The risk of broken windows from home run balls is apparently not a profound deterrent.
Here’s the catch: While AT&T Park sits in the middle of a typhoon of real estate money, it doesn’t appear to add as much value to the place, comparatively speaking. While Yankee Stadium and Houston’s Minute Maid Park see significantly higher adjacent housing prices than the metro average (81 percent more, in the case of the Yankees), homes around AT&T cost pretty much what you’d expect them to anyway.
They’re still more expensive than homes near any other major league park, but that’s just because it’s SoMa and this is 2016. Trulia calls the prices "roughly in line" with the region.
Over at the coliseum formerly known as O.co, it’s the same story: Prices around the stadium are "among the least expensive" in the East Bay. Even if the Coliseum provides a little prestige bump, it’s not enough to erase the fact that it’s just not a popular neighborhood. (It’s even the third-cheapest BART-adjacent area.)
What is it about some ballparks that drive up prices, and why don’t any our stadiums have it? The study suggests that stadiums that are brand new and riding the hype are likely to raise the value of a neighborhood, as are historic stadiums like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.
Everything in between, though, appears more likely to bend to the market than to the other way around. Of course, it's also possible that SoMa is just maxed out to the point that even if the ballpark does give it some juice, the effect is negligible next to how much else it has going for it.
All told, it’s probably for the best that our ballparks lay a goose egg when it comes to running up the numbers on homes. After all, if the Giants or the A’s happen to have another winning season, it would be nice if anyone in the neighborhood could afford home game tickets.