Easy access to the links, a pleasant view of rolling greenery — plus a property-value bump to boot? No wonder people want to live next to a golf course.

Cal State Bakersfield economics students looking at factors that influence Kern County home prices have preliminarily determined houses located next to a golf course are worth more — an additional 11.7 percent on average — than those situated elsewhere.

Their initial analysis of homes sold county-wide in 2018 also suggests a house's price declines 1.3 percent for every mile away from a golf course. The implication is that closer is better when selecting a property near the greens.

The findings don't surprise people familiar with golf-course real estate.

"That view never goes away. And you don't have a neighbor in the back yard," said Mary Christenson, a Bakersfield real estate agent specializing in luxury homes and estate properties in Seven Oaks, Grand Island and other parts of southwest Bakersfield. She said some clients buy next to a golf course with no intentions of playing on it.

The price premium is the good news. The bad news is that golf as a sport, as an industry, has landed in the rough in recent years.

More than 800 courses have closed during the last decade, including at least two in Kern, even as about 150 are reportedly under construction nationwide. CSUB's research shows golf equipment sales have plummeted and the number of players has slipped as generational tastes vary and people balance competing demands on their time.

On the other hand, if it's there, who doesn't want to live next to a golf course?


The assistant professor of economics leading CSUB's study, Nyakundi Michieka, shared early results of the research with hundreds of attendees at Wednesday's Kern County Economic Summit. He emphasized in a later interview that changing economic conditions affect the results, which are based on a relatively few real estate listings from Lost Hills to Ridgecrest, with the bulk in Bakersfield.

The handful of student researchers involved hope to gather additional data before having their study peer-reviewed and published in an economic journal, Michieka said.

Earlier studies focused on homes in San Diego, Texas, South Carolina and elsewhere have also attempted the measure the price premium attached to golf course-adjacent properties. The conclusions have identified home-price bumps ranging from 7.6 percent to as much as 39 percent.

Research has also found drawbacks to living next to a fairway. Besides traffic congestion and noise pollution, studies have found fertilizers and pesticides applied to golf courses can pollute the underlying groundwater.

Other price influencers

Looking at other factors affecting property values, CSUB researchers concluded living in a cul-de-sac adds 5 percent to a home's value, while each additional bedroom raises the price by an average of 7.2 percent. An additional bathroom, they found, boosts the price of a house by 14 percent.

Living next to a cemetery or a park or having a corner lot was found to have no measurable effect on a home's price. But living next to a home with certain characteristics can have positive or negative impacts, CSUB researchers preliminarily determined.

They found that if your neighbor's house stays on the market too long, it can have a very small, negative effect on your home's value. An extra bathroom in the house next door raises your property value 7.3 percent, and living next to a home on a cul-de-sac boosts your home price 7 percent. Homes next to a corner lot suffer a 10-percent decrease, according to CSUB's early results.

Stockdale Country Club's general manager, Susan Greer, pointed to a subtle distinction among golf courses, one she says can affect property values. Corporate- or individual-owned golf courses, she said, don't generally add as much value as those owned by members of a country club.

"You wouldn't want (a home) next to a course that is not maintained," she said, "because that will bring the value down."

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf. Sign up at Bakersfield.com for free newsletters about local business.

(6) comments

Gary Crabtree

Never send a boy to do a man's job. This is a totally stupid article that every appraiser and realtor will be handed they arrive at the front door of a house to be valued or listed. The bedroom and bath percentages are inaccurate and as far as golf course adjacency is concerned, the students and professors need to learn the first three lessons in real estate valuation: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. When it comes to golf course adjacency, Olde Stockdale is highest, followed by Seven Oaks. To live adjacent to The Links at River Lakes is a negative.


Hi Gary, you seem like a very negative person. First, you assume that only boys were involved. If this is man's job, are you that man? The bedroom and bath percentages are based on data they collected. Are you a math genius who knows these numbers off of the top of their head? If you have this kind of talent you should help out wall street, run a bank, or run for president! I bet you'd be fantastic. Negative rhetoric has a way with voters these days.


I always find it funny how easy it is for some people to insult others, while sitting behind their computer screens and in the comforts of their home. Before you insult someone next time perhaps you should research a little about that person, especially when that person comments with his full name. If you had just googled Gary’s name, you would have found out that, although he may not be a math genius, he happens to be the most respected and experienced real estate appraisers in Ker County. Gary just happens to be the guy that most lawyers hire to appraise homes in litigation because of the vast many years of experience he has as an appraiser and he is well respected by almost all professionals as extremely ethical. I think he knows a thing or two about what factors effect home values and to what extent.


I looked at other comments he posted. Whatever he is doesn’t matter. I responded to his comment in the manner he approached it. Thank you for being level-headed, Nick.


Good job students for telling us what the rest of the world has known for hundreds of years. You must have an awesome professor. Now for the bonus round, homes on private islands cost more than homes in Oildale.


Good job supporting students who are trying to learn and provide mathematical evidence. I'm sure the world would be better off without awesome professors and educations. Oildale is Bakersfield's pride, how dare you

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