Entering... Davis Square, Doors Open On The Right. Everybody knows that the T brings value to the neighborhoods it serves. We all point to Somerville's Davis Square. In the 1980's, the 'slummerville' square got the Red Line and a brand new station. At the time, Somerville was known as a rough, gritty town where living was cheap. Now, of course, things are different in Somerville's most popular square. You could spend a million dollars on a home here and no one would bat an eye.
So then, get the T and watch the home values rise. Done. Right?
Well, I think that one station's (while impressive) impact on a neighborhood does not neccessarily make a rule of things. Let's have a look at a more recent addition to the T, the Greenbush Commuter Rail Line.
The Greenbush Line serves the relatively affluent areas on the south shore of the state. The towns of Scituate, Cohasset, Weymouth and Hingham have been fairly stable in terms of value. Did the establishment of commuter rail service to these towns in 2007 impact the value at all? This promises to be a tough test, since opening the markets across the US have plumetted and we have struggled through the Great Recession. So, if values have gone up near these stations I feel it would be a safe assumption to think that these commuter rail stations have done their part to prop up value.
Let's have a look at North Scituate, Scituate and West Hingham Stations - with a 1 mile radius (20 minutes walk to the station).
Average Sales Value in Dollars per Square Foot West Hingham - UP 2007 - $185 (80 Homes Sold) 2012 - $221 (93 Homes Sold)
Cohasset - UP 2007 - $230 (36 Homes Sold) 2012 - $328 (57 Homes Sold)
North Scituate - DOWN 2007 - $266 (33 Homes Sold) 2012 - $179 (22 Homes Sold)
Fairly convincing, yet not 100%. Since 2007, ridership on the T has risen to record highs even as the system is greatly troubled with debt and a staggering amount of decay. Users complain about parking costs at stations, late arrivals, fare hikes, broken down equipment and more. Yet, even with all of the negatives, ridership continues to grow and those communities the T serves are benefitting from the service.