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Homeownership and Rapid Transit

The American Public Transportation Association and the National Association of REALT0RS® recently released a study analyzing changes in residential prices for houses near high frequency public transportation. The study analyzed residential prices in five cities: Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Phoenix. During the Great Recession residential property values declined substantially between 2006 and 2011. However, the data showed that residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service. Homes near rapid transit in congested areas benefit from increased walkability and accessibility to jobs and amenities.

Although there has been a lot of media coverage about home prices in recent years, it is important to remember that a major reason most people purchase a house is to obtain the social benefits of homeownership. NAR studies have shown that compared to rental options homeownership provides a higher overall quality of life for families: higher educational achievement by children, increased civic participation by family members and an increased sense of community, better health outcomes, lower levels of crime in stable neighborhoods, homes that are maintained better than is the case for rental properties, and significant economic benefits over a period of time.

What does this mean for REALTORS®?
That homeownership provides significant economic and social benefits has been well documented. Homes near rapid transit in congested areas benefit further from having walkable neighborhoods, reduced congestion, more job opportunities, and accessibility to jobs and amenities.

Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Research

Jed Smith is Managing Director, Quantitative Research with the National Association of Realtors®. He has worked on real estate issues for the past 20 years, providing input on a variety of housing, commercial real estate, tax, and planning issues. Recently he has been involved in several international studies.

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