If you are looking for an affordable home in your preferred suburb, it may pay to find the street with the silliest name.
House prices on streets with silly names are significantly lower than houses on nearby streets, a study by Victorian school students has found.
High school girls at Sacred Heart College (SHC) in Geelong conducted the research with guidance from the school’s head of science, Adam Cole.
The students identified 27 streets in Victoria with silly names, including Butt Street, Wanke Road and Fanny Street.
“We looked at them on Google Maps and found two adjacent streets with relatively normal names,” Dr Cole told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Jon Faine.
Working with staff from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the University of Sydney and a Melbourne real estate agent, the girls analysed house sales on the streets over the past 47 years.
They found that property prices in streets with silly names were about 20 per cent lower than properties in the normally-named roads.
As the report notes, that amounts to a $140,000 saving on a median-priced Melbourne house.
Embarrassment drives down prices
To explore the reasons behind their findings, the girls surveyed 323 adults about their attitudes towards silly street names.
One third of those surveyed said they would not be happy living in a street with a name like Beaver Street, Willys Avenue or Grogan Court.
Dr Cole said it was likely this affected the supply-and-demand equation for properties on those streets.
“We think that there is a proportion of people that would not be comfortable living in those streets, so they don’t compete for those properties and that would drive prices down,” he said.
“We think it’s probably got to do with a proportion of people being embarrassed by the address when they have to give it out.”
The silly name effect was more prevalent in the capital city suburbs than in regional areas, Dr Cole said, which was “probably because there’s more supply, there’s more choice in Melbourne”.
The price discrepancy was also greater in lower-priced properties than more expensive ones.
Research a long-term project
The team behind the study analysed more than 4,500 property sales totalling nearly $1.5 billion to reach their findings.
The research was conducted by members of SHC’s Bradbury Club, which students can elect to join to pursue long-term science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects.
“We don’t talk about science, we don’t talk about coding or geography or anything like that,” Dr Cole said.
“We just have a project to do, and we get it done, but along the way the girls will be learning.”