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Impact of Proximity to Light Rail Rapid Transit on Station-area Property Values in Buffalo, New York

Daniel Baldwin Hess and Tangerine Maria Almeida
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Daniel Baldwin Hess: Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 3435 Main Street, 116 Hayes Hall, Buffalo, New York 14217-3087, USA,
Tangerine Maria Almeida: LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc., 516 North Tejon Street, Colarado Springs, Colorado 80903, USA,

Urban Studies, 2007, vol. 44, issue 5-6, 1041-1068

Abstract: This study assesses the impact of proximity to light rail transit stations on residential property values in Buffalo, New York, where light rail has been in service for 20 years, but population is declining and ridership is decreasing. Hedonic models are constructed of assessed value for residential properties within half a mile of 14 light rail stations and independent variables are included that describe property characteristics, neighbourhood characteristics and locational amenities. The model suggests that, for homes located in the study area, every foot closer to a light rail station increases average property values by $2.31 (using geographical straight-line distance) and $0.99 (using network distance). Consequently, a home located within one-quarter of a mile radius of a light rail station can earn a premium of $1300-3000, or 2-5 per cent of the city's median home value. Model results further suggest that three independent variables-the number of bathrooms, size of the parcel and location on the East side or West side of Buffalo-are more influential than rail proximity in predicting property values. Individual regression models for each of the light rail system's 14 stations suggest that effects are not felt evenly throughout the system. Proximity effects are positive in high-income station areas and negative in low-income station areas. An analysis of the actual walking distance to stations (along the street network) versus the perceived proximity to stations (measured by straight-line distance) reveals that the results are statistically more significant in the network distance than the straight-line distance model, but the effects are greater in the straight-line distance model, which suggests that apparent proximity to rail stations is an added locational advantage compared with physical walking distance to the station.

Date: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:44:y:2007:i:5-6:p:1041-1068