Witherspoons Effect' sees house prices in Bristol half the city average
It's being dubbed the opposite of 'the Waitrose Effect'
Houses that have a Wetherspoons within walking distance in Bristol sell for less than half the city's average house price.
That is the startling conclusion of some research done by a mortgage company which compared the average house price of different areas around the country and their proximity to a McDonald’s and a Wetherspoons.
Researchers at Mojo Mortgages said they wanted to do something slightly different to the supposed ‘Waitrose Effect’, in which statistics show that homes near a Waitrose are higher in value than those that don’t have the upmarket supermarket in their town or local area.
The opposite, Mojo found, is true for Wetherspoons and McDonalds.
The research found that the average value of a home in Bristol is £310,287, but that the average price of a home near a Wetherspoons - which they define as ‘within walking distance’ without defining how far that actually is - is just £145,600: a drop of more than half, or 53 per cent.
In Weston-super-Mare, the £214,056 average house price drops to just £132,000 in an area where a 'Spoons is nearby.
The research, just like the so-called ‘Waitrose Effect’, could well be an example of a kind of false equivalence - ascribing a cause and effect to two variables that aren't directly linked - because Waitrose site their supermarkets in more upmarket areas where their customers, who are more likely to live in more expensive homes, are more likely to live.
And similarly, Wetherspoons and McDonalds are perhaps more likely to open pubs and fast food restaurants in areas where the average house price is lower, or at least less likely to open one in a high house value area.
In Bristol, homes within walking distance of a Maccy D's have an average value of £214,600 - that's nearly a hundred grand lower than the average. And in Weston, the figure is £140,800 - about a third off the town's average.
“We’ve all heard of the Waitrose effect – the house price phenomenon suggesting that houses within walking distance of the up-market store can be boosted by as much as £36,000,” said a Mojo spokesperson.
“With this in mind, we wondered whether any other ‘effects’ existed in the housing world in Britain – alas we present to you ‘The Wetherspoons Effect’,” he added.
The biggest differences found nationally were all in the north of England, where the gap between areas with a Spoons and without one was most marked.
The research throws a new and potentially interesting light on the debate surrounding plans to open a Wetherspoons pub in Gloucester Road, which is being played out here.
But linking two variables - house prices and how proximity to a Waitrose or Wetherspoons is an assumption stretch. As this paper by a Yale University researcher William Van Fossen showed, the Waitrose Effect research did not study the change in house price up to and then after a Waitrose was introduced to a particular community.
"One drawback in this study is that these higher property values could be caused by a multitude of reasons that do not seem to have been controlled for," he said.
And similarly, Mojo's limited research has not analysed the wider housing market in those areas before and after a Wetherspoons opened.