The Art Factor Boosts Housing

April 25, 2018

Public art has been linked to building booms and price increases for residential real estate. That's why developers and city planners alike are working to weave art throughout new real estate projects and public spaces.

“Developers are beginning to see that if they want to attract tenants, they have to offer them more than just four walls,” says Barbara Goldstein, a public art planner and consultant in San Jose, Calif. “We’re going to see more and more of this kind of thing.”

The art effect can be seen in real estate across the country. For example, Chicago’s Millennium Park, which opened in 2004, features open-air galleries and interactive public art. After its opening, the prices of nearby condo buildings skyrocketed. Some in the city credited the “Millennium Park factor” for the area’s real estate growth by about 10,000 new units over the following decade and $1.4 billion in residential development (as estimated by an economic impact study by URS and Goodwin Williams Group). 

A suburban Brookland neighborhood in northeast Washington, D.C. now features Monroe Street Market, which is a five-block mixed-use development that includes two buildings devoted to artists’ studios on the ground floor. The studios have glass doors and are part of an art walk in the community. When the development first opened in 2014, the median home list price in its ZIP code was $474,000. By 2017, the median price had jumped to $598,400, a 26.2 percent increase in three years, according to® data. 

The High Line in New York is a one-mile park that reclaimed an abandoned elevated railroad track to become a tourist attraction. The park features art and attracts 1.3 million visitors each year. The real estate prices and development near it have soared since its opening in 2014.

“People really want to be near these great, iconic places or things that make a city recognizable,” says Scott Stewart, executive director of the Millennial Park Foundation in Chicago. “A lot of these spaces where you’ve created something spectacular out of something less than desirable … those are attractive. They naturally draw people to them.” 

Source: “As Public Art Goes Up, So Do Nearby Home Prices,”® (April 25, 2018)