January 26, 2020
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A new joint study conducted by the American Public Transportation Association and the National Association of Realtors found that the median sale price for commercial and residential properties located within a half-mile of public transit services was higher than those located farther away.

[Above photo by the APTA.]

The report examined real estate prices in seven U.S. metropolitan regions – Boston; Eugene, OR; Hartford, CT; Los Angeles; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Phoenix; and Seattle – that offered access to heavy rail, light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit. Between 2012 and 2016, median sales price increases near public transit stations were four to 24 percentage points higher compared to properties in residential areas farther from public transit.

Photo by the APTA

Commercial property values experienced similar gains in four of the regions in the 56-page study, with median sales price per square foot increasing between five and 42 percentage points in areas located close to public transit.

[Editor’s note: Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, touted the broader spectrum of benefits provided by public transportation in a joint editorial with Paul Skoutelas, APTA’s president and CEO, in August.]

Data compiled by the report also showed that residents of transit-oriented areas in those seven regions experience lower transportation costs – with an average annual savings of $2,500 to $4,400 for the typical household – had higher access to jobs, and were less likely to own cars. In fact, one in four households in close proximity to transit do not own a vehicle, according to the study.

Photo by the APTA

In particular, the presence of fixed-guideway public transportation – such as rail and bus rapid transit – had a “strong correlation” to higher property values. The findings of this report show that for the regions studied, the average increase in sales prices of properties within the “transit shed” – typically a half-mile from stations – exceeded that of those outside of the transit shed.

“The findings of this report should make it even clearer that public transit’s benefits go beyond moving people from point A to point B,”  noted APTA’s Skoutelas in a statement.

“Transit creates value and, as a result, influences development and business location decisions,” he added. “This creates additional ridership, reducing automobile travel and carbon emissions. Supporting further public transit service expansion, along with appropriate land use policies, can further propel development and housing opportunities.”


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