The New Real Estate Mantra – Location Near Public Transportation investigates how well residential properties located in proximity to fixed-guideway transit have maintained their value as compared to residential properties without transit access between 2006 and 2011 in five regions: Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix, and San Francisco. The selection of these places for the study regions provides not only a geographic distribution, but also an illustrative sample of the types of fixed-guideway transit systems in the US. Minneapolis-St. Paul and Phoenix have newer light rail systems, while Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco are mature systems dominated by heavy and commuter rail. Additionally, Boston is also home to one of the earlier BRT lines.
Fueled by demographic change and concerns over quality of life, there has been a growing interest in communities with active transportation modes. The recession added another dimension to these discussions by emphasizing the economic implications of transportation choices. Housing and transportation, the two economic sectors mostly closely tied to the built environment, were both severely impacted by the economic downturn. There has been a growing effort among planners, real estate professionals, and economists to identify not only the economic benefits of alternative transportation modes in and of themselves, but also the impact that they have on housing prices and value retention.
The real estate mantra of “location, location, location” is more important than ever. Moving beyond the traditional arguments that good schools and neighborhood amenities impact housing prices, emerging research has indicated that urban form and transportation options have played a key role in the ability of residential properties to maintain their value since the onset of the recession. Studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay more for housing located in areas that exemplify new urbanist principles or are “traditional neighborhood developments.” These neighborhoods are walkable, higher density, and have a mix of uses as well as access to jobs and amenities such as transit.