Study: Proximity to Public Transit Boosts Home Values

Houses near public transportation weathered the recession better than their counterparts.

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When it comes to real estate, the old adage goes "location, location, location." However, "location" may no longer solely refer to zip code, but proximity to the nearest train station or bus stop.

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Property values for homes located near public transportation weathered the housing bust much better than homes without easy access, a study from the Center for Neighborhood Technology found. According to the data, residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located within a half-mile of public transportation with high-frequency service—called the "public transit shed"—underscoring that homes closer to public transportation hold their value better.

In Boston, residential property in the rapid transit area outperformed other properties in the region by 129 percent. In the Chicago, public transit area home values performed 30 percent better than the region; in San Francisco, 37 percent; Minneapolis-St Paul, 48 percent; and in Phoenix, 37 percent.

Higher home values reflects greater market demand for neighborhoods near public transportation, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

"Transportation plays an important role in real estate and housing decisions, and the data suggests that residential real estate near public transit will remain attractive to buyers going forward," Yun said in a released statement. "When consumers choose a home, they also choose a lifestyle. Shorter commutes and more walkable neighborhoods matter to a growing number of people, especially those living in congested metro areas."

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Beyond better home values, greater accessibility to public transportation offers a host of other benefits to homeowners and the surrounding community, including lower transportation costs and more travel options.

Perhaps most important, public transportation also provides access to more jobs, the report found. Compared to the region, residents who lived closer to public transportation had access to two times as many jobs per square mile in Boston, Chicago, and Phoenix, and three times as many in San Francisco and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

"Investment in public transportation corridors can be a true economic driver," says Michael Melaniphy, president and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association. "It's more than just getting people from point A to point B. Cities that have good public transit have on the whole been much more resilient through the backend of this recession — you can't get people back to work if they can't get there."

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