Yes, Homes Near Mass Transit Are More Expensive. And You Still End Up Ahead

Never underestimate the stupidity of your local radio talk show host. And we’re live from Seattle (boldface mine):

KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson is taking a moment to say “I told you so.”

The Seattle Times reports that properties near many existing and proposed light rail lines are selling for far more than their neighbors one mile away.

Properties near Capitol Hill’s light rail station are selling for about $35,000 more than other properties in the neighborhood; homes near the Beacon Hill station are selling for $61,000 more than homes farther away. Near Pioneer Square’s station, property is going for $78,000 more. And down in Tukwila, the property might be cheaper than in Seattle, but it will cost home buyers $88,000 more to live near a light rail station than elsewhere in the city.

For Dori, it’s proof of his previous allegations — that developers and property owners are taking advantage of the light rail service meant for increasing mobility through the area.

“In other words, developers and property owners are getting insanely wealthy and it’s a transfer of wealth from the middle class to developers and property owners along the light rail lines,” he said.

This is stupid. Very stupid. As we’ve noted before, looking at housing costs without also factoring in transportation costs is, well, stupid. Once you do that, you realize that many expensive places near mass transit actually cost less than than places distant from mass transit. And you can still come out ahead.

Even if you take the highest additional amount, $88,000, when spread over twenty years, that’s less than $4,500 per year. Sounds expensive! Except the estimated driving cost per mile, which includes gas, maintenance, and so on, cost 59 cents per mile (in 2014). That $4,500 equals about 7,600 miles–for one car. The lowest amount, $35,000, only needs to reduce 3,600 miles of driving per year. So if you’re using mass transit regularly, there’s a good chance you’re coming out ahead, especially if you can eliminate a car–or not own a car at all.

Stupid. Our media isn’t learning.

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One Response to Yes, Homes Near Mass Transit Are More Expensive. And You Still End Up Ahead

  1. Ruthmarie Hicks says:

    I’ll tell you what is stupid. Developers and Planners deliberately making public transportation harder to access because they are trying to force cars off the road – EVEN THOUGH THESE CARS ARE TRYING TO GET THEIR PASSENGERS TO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

    The lack of parking at these hubs is what is driving up costs of transportation forcing more people to drive when they’d rather take the train. This is a major problem where I live and its turning tiny slivers of land into a feeding frenzy, creating mini -bubbles in the market. This isn’t helping anyone and only encourages more driving.

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