A new study says that the prices of houses close to transit lines held up better during the economic downturn that ones that didn’t have easy public transit access.

Overall, prices for homes within half a mile of a CTA station held up 47.3 percent better than the regional average. Homes that didn’t have easy access to transportation — about three-quarters of the regional total — did about 10 percent worse than the regional average.

Regionwide, the benefit for living near Metra stations was 25.3 percent.

The study, released Wednesday, was prepared by the Center for Neighborhood Technology and sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association and the National Association of Realtors.

The study looked at recorder of deeds sales prices from 2006 and 2011 for residential properties including single family homes, apartments, condominiums and townhomes. It found similar patterns in each of the metro areas it studied, which, in addition to Chicago, included Boxton, Minneapolis, Phoenix and San Francisco.

The study’s authors concluded that easier access to jobs and lower transportation costs made housing near mass transit more desirable during the economic downturn.

The results for Evanston Purple Line stops, showing the change in average sales price relative to the region were:

  • Central Street — 9.71%
  • Davis Street — 275.26%
  • Dempster Street — 27.61%
  • Foster Street — 360.57%
  • Main Street — 62.15%
  • Noyes Street — 30.86%
  • South Boulevard — 73.14%

The huge change at Foster Street illustrates a possible limitation of the individual station data in the study. Because the study included sales of large apartment complexes, the 2011 sale of The Reserve at Emerson and Ridge for $55 million undoubtedly affected the Foster Street results.

For Evanston stops on the Metra Union Pacific North line, the results were:

  • Central Street — 74.32%
  • Davis Street — 262.04%
  • Main Street — 33.49%

Top: A chart from the report showing the percentage change in average residential sales prices relative to the Chicago region, 2006-11.

Related documents

The New Real Estate Mantra: Location Near Public Transportation (.pdf)

Appendix listing data for individual train stops

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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