Pokemon Go may not have been officially released in Thailand, but experts say when it is, it may give local real estate prices a boost.
Some real estate agents are already taking advantage of the craze by using the game as a marketing tool for their property listings. But the phenomenon has the potential to go beyond luring in buyers – it may even boost property values.
Pokemon Go is the fastest-growing app ever, garnering over 10 million downloads in the first week alone. Now, more than 40 million people are playing, feverishly trying to “catch ‘em all.”
The app takes players on a virtual hunt for virtual creatures, based on the wildly popular Pokemon cartoon from the 90s. Using augmented reality, the app uses GPS and the phone’s camera to bring captured virtual creatures to real life locations across the world.
In their quest to catch rare and interesting Pokemon creatures, players are led to Pokemon Gyms, which are public places where players can meet, and PokeStops, which are special locations that allow players to collect Pokeballs to capture more creatures.
Realtors selling properties near Pokemon Gyms and PokeStops are taking advantage of their location and using them as unique selling points.
Jay Glazer, a real estate agent in Manhattan, New York, recently posted an advertisement for a million-dollar home and tried to entice buyers by saying he believed a PIKACHU might be living at the home.
Another listing found on Zillow used a similar tactic, boasting about the home having 5 PokeStops and 3 Pokemon Go Gyms nearby.
Some in the real estate industry are predicting that the Pokemon Go craze may boost property prices as much as $50,000. Others say the prospect is just wishful thinking.
Rob Levy, an Australian real estate agent, believes the craze will affect property prices, particularly for the first-time, under-35 market. Levy says when young buyers have “300 identical” homes to choose from, they’ll be more likely to choose the property near a PokeStop.
This wouldn’t be the first time Pokemon Go helped boost prices and sales. Since its release, sales for portable chargers have skyrocketed, and many businesses are seeing a boost in sales as customers wander into their establishment while playing.
But others are taking the reverse point of view on the Pokemon Craze. Some real estate agents say advertising Pokemon Go-related perks in a home listing could attract a lot of unwanted attention and activity to the neighborhood.
When Pokemon Go is finally released in Thailand, will real estate prices rise here, too? Possibly. Experts say level-headed buyers will not rush to buy property based on how close it is to a Pokestop or Pokemon Gym, but there’s no telling how Thais will react until the game is officially released.
Yet still, some argue that luring in people to open houses, even if their only intention is to catch Pokemon, gives the illusion that there is more competition for a home. That increased competition may make buyers more eager to dive in and bid on the property.