The gentrification of the driveway happens before the gentrification of a suburb, says the boss of a data analytics company.
Upmarket vehicles beginning to appear in the carports and garages of houses is often a forerunner of a suburb on the rise, as renovators move in...
When more models such as a BMW X5 or an Audi SUV begin appearing in the driveway of houses and apartments in particular suburban streets, it is a reliable predictor of a suburb undergoing gentrification and becoming much more popular with renovators. Extra investment in community infrastructure often followed, and there was a broad flow on to higher property prices…
He said households who were taking out a loan for $500,000 to buy a rundown home in an up-and-coming area were often also purchasing a $30,000 to $40,000 car to fit the aspirational lifestyle.
The article chalks this up to a big data insight as bringing together multiple pieces of information helped reveal this relationship. I can see how this new information might help investors but it is less clear how this would help residents or local governments.
More broadly, this gets at something my dad always said: look at the cars in driveways, on the street, or in parking spots and it gives you a sense of the people who live there. In societies that prize cars, such as in the United States and Australia and particularly their suburbs, a vehicle becomes an important social marker. The one-to-one relationship might not always work as some people buy more expensive cars than their housing might indicate and vice versa (recall the stories of millionaires driving old reliable cars). Yet, on the whole, people of different social classes drive different vehicles in varying states of repair. Hence, various brands aim at different segments of the market. Famously, General Motors did this early in the 20th century with five different car lines to appeal to different kinds of buyers.
UPDATE: I probably did not contribute to this upward trend with long-term ownership of a Toyota Echo. But, it looked good for its age.