How does the building of a subway stop near a home affect its value?

Asked by alblopes, San Jose, CA Tue Feb 19, 2013

I am planning on buying a home in a new development that is very close to train tracks. Right now, the train does not run very often, but there is an approved plan to have a subway station built really close to this development. Although it will make this home much more convenient, the frequency of the train passing will increase. The value of the house is already much higher than other houses in the neighborhood since it is a new development.

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Rona Fischman, Agent, Cambridge, MA
Tue Feb 19, 2013
The very long-term investment in property near transit lines is a solid strategy; however, the short-term gains are not likely. Let me give you a little history on this: The Davis Square and Porter Square subway stops were under construction for a tediously long time, just like other MBTA projects. It opened in the mid-1980s. Prices flew up in the boom that ended around 1989, when there was a hard bubble break. Prices did not boom again until the next inflationary bubble. That was the mid to late 1990s. Since then, the Davis/Porter area has been more expensive than similarly built properties farther from the Red Line. However, it took about 10 years after completion of the stops to really see the property price inflation in a steady way. People who bought in the late 1970s in anticipation of the Red Line had to wait a long time. Sound familiar?
I’ve been answering questions about the anticipated Green Line extension for a long time. Attached is a blog entry from 2009. My prediction then was not too far off.
Another thing is that the Red Line is currently the only subway line in town, serving a small percentage of the city of Somerville. The Green line will add to the pool of available housing that is near a subway line. That makes property on all the subway lines not be as unique (and valuable) as when there was only the Red Line and the properties near it. (Demand gets diluted when there is more supply.) This could be a factor by 2020 or so.
My general advice on purchasing is to buy what you will love to live in for the next 10 years. If you see appreciation before then, you are lucky. If you don't, you still have a great place to live. If the passing trains are something you won't like in the future, you may want to look for a nicely renovated space a short walk from a proposed Green Line stop.
1 vote
Thank you, Rona!
Flag Tue Feb 19, 2013
Robert Ortiz, Agent, Cambridge, MA
Mon Jun 24, 2013
The closer you are to a train station the better, always. Convenience is a huge factor in determining where to live. While there are some who might prefer not to be within site of a station or be bothered by the sound of trains going by, there's a much larger group of people who pay the premium for the shortest possible walk to the station.

I think a station nearby can only increase your property value.
0 votes
Fred Herman, Agent, Staten Island, NY
Sat Jun 15, 2013
General, close by is good. in plain sight is not good.

good luck
0 votes
Kevin Vitali, Agent, Tewksbury, MA
Sat Jun 15, 2013
I think Rona covered it quite nicely. Long term when the project is complete, the ability to walk to public transit can be a huge attraction to many home buyers.
0 votes
Rona Fischman, Agent, Cambridge, MA
Tue Feb 19, 2013
Damian is right about the coverage that Somerville will enjoy once the Green Line project is completed. It will be going from about 11% of the people to 80-something percent of the people who will live within a 10-minute walk of a subway stop.
However, for Somerville to become "the new Brookline" the city will need to invest in improving the reputation of the school system. From what I see, people flock to Brookline for the schools first, and the transportation second.
0 votes
Green Home T…, Agent, Cambridge, MA
Tue Feb 19, 2013
Rona has pretty much covered all the bases and I will just emphasize that you should buy for love of property first and future investment value (as to the Green Line) second. But I will add that if the Green Line comes as planned, then Somerville will be very much like Brookline in convenient access to comfortable public transport and I think future values in Somerville will be altered so as to reflect Brookline property values. Brookline is Brookline in large part because it has the B,C and D Green Lines running through it. Somerville will have something very close to this advantageous coverage.
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