How far from a major highway is good enough for a house?

Asked by Home Owner, San Jose, CA Fri Mar 23, 2012

For example, Hwy-101 in CA bay area. Approximately how many miles away from such a major highway should one consider buying a home?

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giaextra, Home Buyer, San Jose, CA
Fri May 24, 2013
While the real estate agents continue to repeat their 'Can you hear the noise" mumbo jumbo, one may want to consider the health risks. You know, that little thing called your health??? How about a dramatically increased mortality rate if you live near a hwy? Come on, people....if you're going to give advice, give advice that matters!!!
4 votes
Harold Sharpe, Agent, LAKE HAVASU CITY, AZ
Fri Mar 23, 2012
Depending on your taste for exhaust fumes I would venture to guess about 1 mile.

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes Realty
(951) 821-8211
California Department of Real Estate Broker License # 01312992
3 votes
Norman Aless…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
The other realtors have given you good advice, I would only add that if you stand outside in your back yard or front yard and listen to the noise level that will give you a good gage. Remember that if noise is an issue with you then make sure that it is away from busy roads also.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me.
At your service,
Certified Distressed Property Expert
2 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Fri Mar 23, 2012
It is not about miles but about seeing it and more important hearing it. If you can hear the noise, it may be too close. The best way is to walk the neighborhoods and also sit in the house with the windows closed and then open and listen....
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2 votes
Stonewood00, Renter, Huntington Beach, CA
Wed Mar 11, 2015
If you are concerned about pollution and its effect on health, it is best to live about two miles away from the freeway. I've included links to two articles, below, for consideration:……
1 vote
Thanks for posting. For future people searching about buying home near freeway, here's another study saying that homes within 500 feet of a freeway are high risk of health risks including athsma, lung problems, cancer and premature birth. Plus problems sleeping because of the noise. It was recommended to stay 1000 feet away, then the risks start to decrease significantly.

All this talk about tolerance for noise is incredible. Read the science and make a more informed decision for yourself/family. Realtors won't have to live there - you do.
Flag Tue Jun 6, 2017
James Mauldw…, Agent, Saratoga, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
For resale or for you?

Resale: a slight rumble in the air may still be fine.

You: it depends on your taste.

Overall: if you are ever going to sell the home, do not but too close. If you can see the freeway , it may be an issue to a buyer.

Jim Mauldwin
Intero Real Estate
DRE # 01125380 since 1991
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1 vote
Hassan Sabba…, Agent, Campbell, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
It depends on you. Walk around the house, go inside the house, open windows, and listen. Do you hear the noise, do you see highway? Are you comfortable with what you hear. That would be far enough for you. I had buyer who wanted to have a house next to major highway and I had buyer who wanted to be mils away from any busy street. It really depends on each person preference.
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1 vote
Robert Chome…, , San Diego, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
It depends on how much the sound from the freeway bothers you. It bothers me a lot. I have lived in a condo about 2 city blocks from a freeway and I hated it. You can never get any peace and quiet, that freeway buzz is there 24-7. I never wanted to go out on my balcony or open my windows b/c of that loud noise and I ran a fan 24-7 to drown out the sound even with the windows closed. So make sure you know yourself and how much freeway noise bothers you.
1 vote
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
It really depends on a house by house case. Some homes get more noise on one side or the other of the Hwy. Also, if the house is higher or lower than the Hwy.

I tell my clients to consider the way they live in a home. If you are one to like to sit outside and enjoy the yard will the sound bother you. Some people do get used to it, but it is a personal decision.

Weather can affect noise as well, so be sure to visit the home at several times during the day, night, weekends, and when possible during cloudy and clear days as well.

Have an Amazing Weekend!
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1 vote
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
If the only point is noise, then however far it takes to get away from the noise.That will vary significantly depending on topography and if there are sound barriers, etc... Test it out with each property because it will likely have significant impact resale if you don't choose well.
1 vote
Mitchell Pea…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
The other side of your question is: How close should you be to a Freeway Interchange? Ease of commute is a selling point, freeway noise is a price depressor. Freeway in the view, like high tension wires in the view, depresses prices. So, if you can be "close" to the interchange, but "far" from the noise, and have a view facing "away" from the freeway, you are getting a good combination of price factors.

Another factor is if you are on a major feeder road to the freeway, this is good if you are a person looking for a home business location because the zoning will likely allow you to be there. This usually increases prices. It is terrible, however, if you want a quiet residential setting.

As always, in real estate, the uniqueness of combining factors necessitates evaluation by exploring each candidate property itself before making a decision.

Mitchell Pearce
1 vote
charles butt…, Agent, san jose, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
Thank you for your question:

As Harold Sharpe pointed out, to avoid most of the effects of exhaust, noise, etc you need to be at least one mile away from the freeway.

However if your concern is resale value, most of the depression in resale valu generally occurs within the 500 feet nearest the freeway, however Real Estate values generally are also reduce to some extent within the first mile from the freeway.

However this can also work to your advantage. For a given amount of money you can get more home for the same amount of money near a freeway because of that depression in home value. On resale you need to expect the same sort of discount in the sale price.

for more information you may call me on my cell phone: (408)509-6218

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Realty
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address:
1 vote
Ec, Home Buyer, Hosford - Abernethy, Portland, OR
Tue Jun 6, 2017
0 votes
Dale A., Home Buyer, San Jose, CA
Tue May 17, 2016
Marketing, public opinions or personal choice, it's up to you. A savy realtor, who asked where I was from, learned that I grew up near the ocean. Later she showed me a property of interest. I commented; it's near the highway, and the trafiic sound might bother me. She so calmy said "close your eyes." I did, wondering what would come next. With my eyes closed she said "sounds like the ocean doesn't it." We were 100 miles inland. A suggestion to consider. Drive to the potential neighborhood (or rural area) at night, park and roll your windows down. Provided it's safe of course. If you would be distracted by the highway noise in your own yard at night, what would you choose. To look for property elsewhere or pretend?
0 votes
Stephanie An…, Agent, Satellite Beach, FL
Mon May 16, 2016
Location! Location! Location! Never lose sight of this most important consideration when purchasing a home!
0 votes
Lamar McKeen, Agent, LaGrange, GA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
0 votes
common sense says dont live next to a freeway. I guess I don't have any common sense as I live within 500m and love it. got a million dollar property for 750k, and the only time you really here it is early morning with the windows open.
Flag Mon Oct 20, 2014
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