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Real Estate Figures Show Access to Transit Major Factor for Homebuyers

Real estate figures show access to transit major factor for homebuyers

Residents increasingly seeking out housing near
transit lines

Kate Brickman
Metropolitan Council Communications Director
651-602-1518 office

ST. PAUL, Minn. –
April 25, 2016 –
New real estate figures show access to transit is
increasingly becoming an asset for homebuyers. The Minneapolis Area Association
of Realtors has studied the impact of the METRO Blue Line LRT on housing
prices, and says more and more, people are considering transit when evaluating
where they want to live.


“We regularly hear from our members who work with
millennials and boomers alike that today’s buyers want the option to take
transit to the airport, to entertainment, to work, to sporting events or even
for an evening out with friends or family,” said David Arbit, Director of
Research and Economics for the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.
“Today’s buyers want the option to not own a car, or if they do own a car, the
option not to use it every single day.”


Arbit says his research shows that the value of homes in neighborhoods near Blue Line stations in
Minneapolis continue to be higher than homes in neighborhoods not connected to
the region’s first LRT line. In January 2015, the median value in an
LRT-connected neighborhood was $220,000, and the median-valued home was
$194,000 in a non-LRT neighborhood. (See more about the research here, beginning on slide 20).

“The Minneapolis light rail neighborhoods
continue to outperform the rest of the city,” said Arbit.

Dynamic likely to be
replicated along Green Line and planned expansions of LRT system


Arbit says realtors are now seeing a similar dynamic along
the METRO Green Line LRT. Home values have performed better in the Green Line area
than in the city of St. Paul as a whole and when compared to the metro region
as a whole since the line’s 2014 opening. He says he’s expecting the same to
happen in communities along the planned Southwest LRT line, with the exception
of the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis, where the price effect is expected to be minimal
due to low turnover rates of homes.


“I think values in
St. Louis Park and Hopkins will perform quite well, similar to values along the
Hiawatha line. I’d expect Minnetonka and Eden Prairie values to perform in the
middle, somewhere between St. Louis Park/Hopkins and Kenwood,” he said.


Arbit said he expects to find property values in
LRT-connected neighborhoods along the proposed Blue Line Extension in north
Minneapolis, Golden Valley and Crystal to “perform better than their control
group and better than the region just as we found on Hiawatha.”


Balance needed to
ensure affordable housing options along transit lines


Met Council Member Gary Cunningham says while the increase
in home values demonstrates the desire for people to live near transit lines,
it also underscores the need to ensure there is available affordable housing
along public transit. Median household incomes within a half-mile of the planned
Green Line Extension’s 15 stations is $50,580, well below the
metro-wide figure of roughly $80,000.


“We have a great need for more affordable housing in this
region,” said Cunningham. “While many critics claim
residents along Southwest corridor are wealthy compared to other residents in
the area, the fact is that there are many working-class families in need of
affordable housing all along the line. We need to work together with
stakeholders to ensure the people who need to access transit can do so.”


Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison agrees there’s a
misperception that the cities along the Green Line Extension are more
prosperous and primarily white. “If you dig below the impression, you’ll see
they’re quite diverse, and many of them have a history of affordable housing.”


A Hennepin County task force is working to ensure that
one-third of the new housing units expected along Green Line Extension by 2030
are affordable for people with low and moderate incomes to prevent
gentrification. Projections estimate 11,200 new apartments, condos, and homes.


increasingly seeking out housing near transit lines


A national study by the Rockefeller Foundation finds that 66
percent of millennials say access to high-quality transportation is one of
their top three priorities when considering a move to another city.


“People rely on public transit to get
to work, to school, to opportunities,” said Met Council Chair Adam Duininck. “It’s
clear that many people are deciding where to live and work based on access to
transit. If we are going to compete for the top talent in the country, we must
continue to build out our regional transit system and provide people more
options to get around.”


Older residents are also increasingly
attracted to housing near public transit. Marvin Plakut is President and CEO of
Episcopal Homes. He says many residents sought out the independent living
center at the Fairview Avenue Station in St. Paul because of its proximity to
the Green Line.

“LRT had a major positive impact on our Episcopal Homes campus and
our residents and staff. It brought more than just transportation and
increased independence.  It brought excitement and vibrancy and a sense of
newness and urban chic,” said Plakut. “Our Episcopal Homes campus expansion
filled up prior to opening our doors last year, and we have long waiting
lists. Nearly all guests inquiring about our offerings are saying that a
significant part of their interest is a result of the light rail line stopping
right in front of our campus door.”


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