Location, Location, Location – Home sales up around Metra stops
The first snow of the season has arrived and I’m grateful for my short, five minute walk to the EL. When I was in the market to buy a house, proximity to public transit was at the top of my list, and it looks like a lot of other Chicagoans feel the same way. According to the latest RE/MAX Metra Community Study, suburban Chicago communities served by Metra commuter trains had a greater increase in home sales in the first half of 2010 than the entire suburban portion of the seven-county Chicago real estate market.
The study analyzed home sales in a three-town sample along each of the 11 Metra corridors throughout the Chicago suburbs and compared sales there to homes sales in the overall suburban market. The study compared sales data for the first half of 2010 to data from the same period of 2009.
Easier to sell
This year, homes sales in Metra-served communities were 47 percent higher than in 2009, compared with the 37 percent increase recorded by the total suburban market. The average sales price of a home in the Metra-served towns was $275,266, while in the total suburban market the average price was $239,064. Both of those averages represent a two percent decrease from the comparable average price recorded in 2009.
The Metra lines posting the strongest results were the North Line (with Evanston, Winnetka, and Lake Bluff as the sample communities), the BNSF (Riverside, Western Springs and Lisle) and Heritage Corridor (Summit, Lemont and Lockport). When both sales activity and price levels are considered, the Union Pacific West Line had the best overall performance. The 447 home sales there represented a 57 percent gain over 2009, while the average sales price was up three percent to $370,293.
In the south, home sales in selected municipalities along the south suburban Electric line were up one percent over last year, and the average price rose 24 percent to $86,967.
Commuting to the city by train is a smart move that reduces our reliance on automobiles and saves money. The American Public Transportation Association found that in the Chicago region riding public transportation saves individuals $11,533 annually, and up to $961 per month.
But for me, the benefits of living near public transit go beyond a quick walk to the train on a cold, snowy morning. All of the transit oriented development around my station makes for a short walk to the grocery store, boutiques, and any type of cuisine, which means I never have to get in my car. When I think about it, living near the train not only saves me money on my commute, but it’s made my community a better place to live.