How much Walter White may have lowered his neighbor’s property values

Breaking Bad protagonist and meth kingpin Walter White might not have made his neighbors happy:

In his 2011 paper, “The Lasting Effects of Crime: The Relationship of Discovered Methamphetamine Laboratories and Home Values,” Holy Cross econ professor Joshua Congdon-Hohman calculates how much damage meth labs cause to surrounding home values after they’re discovered…Using housing sales data from Akron, Ohio — home to that state’s largest concentration of meth labs  — Congdon-Hohman finds the following:

  • For homes sold within an eighth of a mile after a lab is discovered, there is a 10.5% decline in sales prices.
  • Within the first year of the discovery the decline can be as much as 19%.
  • For homes sold within a quarter of a mile after a lab is discovered, there is a 4.5% decline.
  • The declines persist for at least two years.
  • It didn’t matter if an additional meth lab was discovered — just a single busted cook site can take down several blocks.

Summary: you don’t want meth makers on your street, particularly if you want more money when you sell your house. If reduced property values aren’t enough, I suspect the typical suburbanite also doesn’t want meth makers on their street because they don’t fit the image of a happy, stable, law-abiding neighborhood.

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