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Jayna Omaye/MEDILL

Data: Center for Neighborhood Technology


A recent study found that the price of residences located near transit is more stable and less likely to decline than those in non-transit regions during a recession.

Homeowners near CTA stations get a property price boost, study says

by Jayna Omaye
Apr 24, 2013


Jayna Omaye/MEDILL

Residential properties near CTA El stations were more resilient than those in proximity to the Metra.

Chicago homeowners who live near a CTA station reap a benefit that most of their suburban counterparts don’t – more stable real estate prices, according to a recent study.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology found that the price of residential property located near transit was more stable and less likely to decline in a recession than those in non-transit regions. And they found the boost was stronger for those residences near a CTA stop than those near a Metra station.

The study, released in March, surveyed five cities between 2006 and 2011: Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix and San Francisco.

“We looked at cities that represented a range of transit systems, so new systems, mature systems, larger systems and smaller systems,” said Linda Young, research director at the center and one of the study’s lead authors. Young said Chicago transit represented a large mature system.

The study looked at the impact of the CTA El and the Metra train system in the region’s seven counties: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Residential property values near CTA transit were most resilient, with average prices nearly 47 percent better than the seven county region as a whole. Prices for residences near Metra stations were 23 percent better than the region.

Lauren Weekes, a resident of Logan Square, lives within walking distance of the Logan Square Blue Line CTA station. She chose her apartment because her workplace was located off the Blue Line.

“If you work off the Blue Line, you live off the Blue Line,” Weekes said. “If you work off the Red Line, you live off the Red Line.”

Sarah Ware, a board member of the Chicago Association of Realtors, said many people take the El more often because Metra is not as accessible. Ware, who serves as the managing broker for The Carter Ware Group, Inc., a Chicago real estate company, said for the most part people have to drive to one of the Metra stations, whereas many can walk to the El.

In 2010, nearly 2 million people in 802,000 households lived within half a mile of a CTA or Metra station, according to the study. Those living closer to a CTA station took public transportation more (32 percent) than those near a Metra station (19 percent).

“CTA stations are usually in areas with higher residential density, which also supports commercial destinations,” Young said. “The CTA system also has closer access to probably more destinations. All of these benefits are all more concentrated where there’s more population density.”

Weekes said she likes living near the Blue Line because it provides her with easy access to shopping, restaurants and nightlife activities.

“Chicago is a neighborhood-centric city,” Weekes said. “It has everything you need contained in these boundaries. You become accustomed to your neighborhood.”

Ware said in her experience selling residential properties, many of her clients want to work, live and play in one place.

Residents living within the CTA transit area also spent less on monthly transportation costs, according to the study. Better access to jobs and transit and more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods contributed to CTA commuters’ lower transportation costs, Young said.

Weekes said on average, she spends about $60 each month on CTA fare compared with $80 to $100 per month for gas when she borrows a car.

Ware also said parking costs are another downfall to driving.

“You can fly into Chicago and go around the whole city for about $5 to $10 a weekend,” Ware said. “There are some times when it’s more convenient to drive, but there’s a lot more that comes with that.”

Even though Weekes said she recently switched jobs to an office off the Red Line, she doesn’t want to move because the Blue Line stop is still easily accessible, convenient to walk to and provides a variety of amenities.

“It’s not like another city where you just live in a residential neighborhood,” Weekes said. “Your house, nightlife and friends are in one area. It’s like a burrow.”