Did Banksy predict Camden’s rising house prices

Banksy began a feud with King Robbo in 2009 with this depiction of a workman over painting a mural b

Banksy began a feud with King Robbo in 2009 with this depiction of a workman over painting a mural by his fellow graffiti artists, leading to a year long series of tit-for-tat defacing across Camden - Credit: PA WIRE

Photos of street art shared on social media have been linked to rising house prices in areas including Camden and Muswell Hill in a new academic study.

Artist Ben Wilson paints his miniature works of street art on discarded pieces of chewing gum all ov

Artist Ben Wilson paints his miniature works of street art on discarded pieces of chewing gum all over London, from the Millenium Bridge to his local Muswell Hill. Photo: PA Images - Credit: Demotix

A group of academics from the University of Warwick collected data from the photo sharing website Flickr between 2003 and 2014 and compared it to data from the Land Registry on London house prices from the same time frame.

“Neighbourhoods which have a higher proportion of ‘art’ photographs also have greater relative gains in property prices,” the study concluded.

The report puts forward several potential reasons for this connection. For example, the presence of attractive street art in an area could be a signal that the neighbourhood is improving.

Art in the neighbourhood may also cause a feedback loop effect when it comes to attracting people to an area and driving up demand.

“As people connected to the arts rely on socializing to advance their careers, are more ‘arty’ neighbourhoods attracting more cafes and restaurants, which in turn attract other groups of people to move into the neighbourhood?” asks the study.

By collecting data from photo sharing websites and social media, the academics argue that you can more effectively predict what areas are likely to become more desirable due to the presence of art.

More traditional methods such as counting the number of art galleries or museums in an area are not as effective, as they often arrive in an area after it has already started to become attractive to a more art-loving crowd.

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So did street art from the likes of Banksy predict – or even cause – the rise in property prices for certain north London enclaves?

Street art and graffiti murals might sound like the preserve of east London hipster breeding grounds such as Shoreditch and Dalston, but Camden was rocking its spray-paint before it was cool.

The area is a colourful canvas for street artists, the most famous of which is the mysterious graffiti maverick Banksy.

Banksy has been active in Camden for years, although much of his work has been covered over or removed by the council.

Perhaps most famously was his longstanding battle with fellow graffiti artist King Robbo, which ran from 2009 to King’s untimely death in 2014.

The two artists repeatedly attempted to out do each other in a tit for tat dual along Regent’s Canal.

House prices in Camden have risen over 55 per cent in the past 10 years, according to Zoopla.co.uk.

Whilst there are several other factors at play, camera-ready street art could have been the canary in the coal mine.

Muswell Hill was another area identified by the study as seeing a high concentration of photos tagged as art being shared online accompanied by a rise in house prices.

Local artist Ben Wilson produces miniature masterpieces painted on pieces of discarded chewing gum stuck on the pavement.

Mr Wilson has become something of a sensation in recent years, having been featured in national and international magazine features and starring in two documentaries about his work.

His fun and irreverent street art proved popular with the photographic community on Flickr.

Incidentally, Muswell Hill has also seen house prices more than double in the last decade.

So the next time you spot a piece of street art in your neighbourhood you might want to start preparing for (another) price hike.

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