Urban Land recently featured a study by the American Transportation Association (APTA) indicating that homes near frequent-service public transit lines retained their value better than most during the recession. The study was co-sponsored by the National Association of Realtors.
"When homes are located near public transportation, it is the equivalent of creating housing as desirable as beachfront property," says Michael Melaniphy, APTA's president and CEO. Neighborhoods with high-frequency public transportation, Melaniphy says, provide access to three to five times as many jobs per square mile as other areas in a region. Other benefits of living near good public transit: lower transportation costs, walkable neighborhoods, and a variety of transportation choices.
...The most dramatic example was in Boston, where residential property in the rapid transit area outperformed other properties in the region by 129 percent."
This is in part because of the rising annual ownership costs of a car, which are growing more and more untenable for most families.
The need is not just for transit, but for high-frequency transit that allows people to wait just a few minutes before jumping on board to get where they need to go. People can't tolerate hour-long waits in today's typically hectic life. If they have to, they'll get right back in their cars in spite of the costs, and much of the value of a transit system is leeched away.
Still, it's worth paying attention to this information if you are planning on buying a home in the near future. It's also another transit "plus" that lawmakers and planners should stay aware of as they look towards the future.