Graffiti and Its Evolution

Updated: Feb 1

From Urban Problem to Real Estate Money Maker!


At one point street art and graffiti were the illegal drawings on walls, and have now made their way to one of the most admirable types of art that add incredible value to the street artists, the economy, and the community!



Graffiti, in the past, was involved in illegal vandalism. It was seen as a symbol of the antisocial behavior of street gangs. People in the community didn’t accept the movement, nor appreciate the art that came from it. The landlords had graffiti all erased and whitewashed to keep it out of locals’ eyes. However, the evolution has arrived, street art and graffiti have changed into cachet urban art that increases housing prices.



Graffiti in the Past

Decades ago, sprayed painting on the walls, streets, undergrounds, and other public spaces was seen as an illegal action. It normally happened in areas with poverty and crimes. Since it was done by radical people, street art was never accepted and always considered a public nuisance.


Its Evolution

Street art and graffiti have become a hit after the graffiti artists showed their work and were spread widely throughout the world. Several street art activities have also been held constantly, giving a spotlight to this new form of art. However, Kilo, a graffiti artist, said that not all street art was acceptable. The artworks that could boost up a high value depended on whose work they belong to.

According to Richard, head of residential at Savills, the famous street artists will increase property value. The graffiti will attract tourists and those rich tenants who desire to live near the artworks created by the world’s most popular street artists.



One of the most famous street artists worldwide is Banksy. Even though no one knows who he really is, his street art has made a big impact on the public and attracted visitors to have a look. One of his famous works was the mural depicting a girl firing the red flowers from a catapult. He secretly painted it on the property of Kelly Woodruff’s father on Valentine's night. Woodruff said that they were extremely excited about it. After being confirmed as Banksy’s work, the art was protected by a protection sheet, however, it was still destroyed.

The next day, there was a pink spray on Banksy’s artwork. Woodruff said that they were devastated. They eventually decided to cover Banksy’s art by using planks, along with setting up cameras and a fence. Even though the protection has cost them a lot of money, they have assured to keep it safe as the artwork could bring a lot more value.


Increase Value to Real Estate?


As Banksy has become a popular artist, he has doubled real estate prices with his work. According to a survey by eMoov, Banksy’s artwork would profit real estate owners a lot. 44 percent of UK property owners tend to spend more to get his artwork on their walls.

There is also a research titled “How Can Street Art Have Economic Value?” by Fabiana Forte studying the increase in correlation between street art and socio-economic dynamics in urban areas. In the research, she suggested that the impact of street art on the real estate market in Europe has come from Banksy. With his reputation, the ‘Banksy Effect’ has brought attention to murals, resulting in them becoming a tourist attraction full of visitors, leading to a huge economic improvement.

Besides Europe, the property price in the U.S.A has shown its evolution as well. In New York, the properties in Chelsea, Lower East Side, and Harlem have a high density of street art which can bring rich tenants and tourists to the areas. In Chelsea, the murals painted by a Brazilian street artist named Eduardo Kobra have increased the value from $880,000 to $2,075,000. With this trend, property prices in New York City have risen phenomenally especially the artwork from famous street artists. However, street artists who get paid for their art and later would paint the same image somewhere else could get into a lot of trouble.

The study from the University of Warwick suggested that a neighborhood consisting of street art has increased the property market values, and the property prices in London compared between 2003 and 2014 was incredibly different. Seeing how the prices have risen, street art influences economic development phenomenally.


Wood Street Walls, a local art organization in London, UK, used public art to point out the social issues in the Waltham Forest. Recently, there has been a lot of street art sprang up in that area, pushing the house's value. Engaging the public through artwork, Wood Street Walls has consulted with local people regarding a planned work in public spaces, asking their preferences regarding the cultures of the areas.


One of the Wood Street Wall projects has helped the community by providing free workshops for local children. Mark Clack, the co-founder of Wood Street Walls, said that street art may cause gentrification, however, it helps the community grow as it provides employment and funds for locals without education. Wood Street Walls also want street art to be accessible to everyone. This, in return, has a great impact on the people who may not be able to go to the museum. Still, they can enjoy art anywhere, even when they commute to work.


More Famous Street Artists?

Since street art has been getting admired, the artists have gained a lot of respect.

Besides Banksy, other famous street artists can raise the property value with their artworks such as Eine, C215, Blu, Roa, Osgemeos, Shepard Fairey, Vhils, etc, and each of them has their unique style and approaches.


The purpose of street art and graffiti may not have satisfied the community in the past. However, they have formed their new role as they can build up businesses, organize activities, restore deserted areas, and bring them back to life again.


*** All pictures are from Banksy