Friday, June 17, 2011

Light Rail and the impact on Property Values

My desk is covered in all manner of US reports that have tried to quantify the impact rail transit has on property values.   Any you know of out there, please send me a link.   When I am done going through them, I will post a full set of links to reports.

There are no studies I can find of the impact on property values in metro regions with populations of less than 1,000,000.   There are few impact studies I can find of the C-Train or the SkyTrain, both of which I would find very interesting as municipal governance environment in Canada is dramatically different than in the US.

Here is what I gleaning from them to date:

The biggest impact is a rise in prices in single family homes in the suburbs.  There seems be a clear premium paid to own a house within walking distance of a rail transit station.   There is no clear premium  that seems to be directly link rail transit to condos in the urban cores.

The impact on commercial values are very, very mixed.   Only the largest cities seem to show any significant rise in values.   Many locations show no measurable benefit or one that is so small as to not be outside the margin of error of the work.   There is also a problem in the US because many commercial areas along rail transit corridors have received preferential tax treatment.   Factoring that out seems to be beyond most of the studies.

Interesting, there is some evidence that shows a good freeway has about the same benefit to residential home values as a light rail lines have.

One study I did find on the SkyTrain seems to indicate that houses along the SkyTrain line lost ground on houses not near the line between 1981 and 2001.   Another interesting site I found on the SkyTrain was this UBC Geography class project analyzing the impact of the SkyTrain, they had mixed results looking at four stations.

I am also trying to find reports that look in detail of the impact of re-zoning on values and how that fits into any property value changes on a rail transit line.

Based on what I have read so far, I am currently not convinced there will be any property value increases along Douglas Street that could be attributed to the LRT.  If I have the time to do it properly, I am going to try and compare some neighbourhoods in Metro Vancouver along the Expo line and some that are not.   Specifically I am thinking Burnaby along the line and Coquitlam.  That is if I have time.
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