Walter White Cost His Neighbors Almost $30K

Study shows meth labs a huge drain on local property values
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2013 10:10 AM CDT
Walter White Cost His Neighbors Almost $30K
This image provided by AMC shows Bryan Cranston as Walter White in a scene from "Breaking Bad."   (AP Photo/AMC, Ursula Coyote)

Don't worry, no spoilers ahead (though Business Insider tells this story through slightly spoiler-colored glasses, if you're up to speed on the show). Breaking Bad's Walter White may have stashed a lot of meth-cash in his home over the seasons, but he's not exactly bringing money to the neighborhood. A 2011 study found that when a meth lab is discovered, homes within an eighth of a mile of it see their values decline 10.5%, and as much as 19% the first year.

While Walt didn't actually have a lab in his home, given the state of that house—and the infamy surrounding Heisenberg—it's safe to assume the effect would be similar. The median property values in Albuquerque's Loma Del Rey neighborhood is $265,000, so a 10.5% drop would cost each homeowner on the block $27,825. We'd be horrified, too. The study's authors argue that, given how much American wealth is tied up in homes, policies to reduce the number of meth labs "should be well funded." Meanwhile, with Breaking Bad's finale set for tonight, Aaron Paul made a much heralded cameo on Saturday Night Live last night. (Read more Breaking Bad stories.)

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