Photo: Duncan Brown
Denver house prices are enjoying a high this year. The city saw its property values jump 10 per cent in the past 12 months, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices – the second highest in the US, behind only San Francisco (10.3 per cent).
The secret to its success? Pot. Since the state decided to legalise marijuana in 2012, demand for homes has risen, thanks to more people and more jobs.
“The pot industry is creating jobs we didn’t have before,” Kelly Moye, a Re/Max real estate agent, tells CNN .
As well as growers and sellers, the green industry’s growth has given other sectors a lift too, including security and HVAC companies. With new jobs come new employees, which also means new buyers of homes.
“It’s brand new, it adds a whole new factor to the area,” adds Moye.
The relationship between cannabis and real estate is nothing new: in the years immediately following the financial crisis, empty homes were being jumped upon by growers looking to shelter cannabis farms.
In the UK, meanwhile, where it is still illegal, it is not unusual for landlords to discover tenants secretly growing pot without permission.
Police seized 456,911 plants last year, with buy-to-let properties accounting for a significant portion of these seizures as far back as 2009 in areas such as Greater Manchester.
In Denver, the legal high has led to happy agents, who are seeing inventory fall and bidding wars between buyers become common.
“There has been a huge bump in real estate prices due to the legalization of marijuana,” James Paine, managing partner at West Realty Advisors, adds. “It’s massively pushed up raw land and industry prices.”