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Transit: A Real Home Advance

June 30th, 2004 by

  • Homes within a half-mile of the MidTown Direct rail line to Manhattan more than doubled in value (up 113 percent) between 1993 and 2003, even accounting for inflation, according to a recent study.
  • In contrast, homes more than two miles from the line increased 65 percent in the same period.
  • The jump in value for homes near transit holds true nationally, as well. The National Association of Realtors reports single-family homes near San Diego’s commuter stations fetch a 17 percent premium; there is 46 percent premium for condominiums.
  • In Dallas, the median value of homes near suburban rail stations rose 32 percent as measured by a 2002 study, compared with 19.5 percent for other Dallas metro properties.

(Source: The study of property values affected by MidTown Direct is the basis of a May 2004 thesis by Columbia University graduate student Juliette Dellecker Michaelson.


Americans might love their cars, but they hate traffic. That’s one reason why homes near commuter stations in New Jersey and nationally are experiencing a jump in property value over similar area homes not served by rail.

And closer seems to be better. The recent study of real estate values around the Morris and Essex lines in northern New Jersey showed that homes within walking distance of commuter stations were worth about $90,000 more than comparable homes elsewhere in the community.

Living near transit may also qualify a homebuyer for a bigger mortgage. The Smart Commute Initiative launched by Fannie Mae last year allows those buying a home within a quarter-mile of rail or bus transit to qualify for additional loan money of approximately $12,500, on the premise that an individual can save $200 a month by using transit instead of driving.

Homes located near transit bring their owners more choice in moving around, as well as financial benefits. The community benefits from the higher taxes paid by these properties, as well.

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