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Simbha

Effect of light rail on townhome value

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Hi all. I'm looking to lease a townhome located on Wheeler near La Branch. The builder wants to sell and I'm able to lock in a buying price (now) at a level that seems reasonable today - and will be good for the next year. This will be an option. I think the price is good - as of today.

My chief concern is what the effect of the proposed University line of the light rail system might be. I've searched on Google and can't seem to find a straight answer - except for those properties that are within a stone's throw of a station (which this unit is not). I'm not too concerned if it won't enhance the value greatly, but is there any good reason to believe that it will reduce the value of the property. The complex's driveway exits to a side street so I'm not worried about the short-term effects of construction; rather, I'd like to know what people's belief/knowledge about the long-term effects of adjacent light rail is on this type of property.

On a side note, does anyone know much about the area and its development - and the further effects of this development of expected property values? It seems that the area south of Wheeler is undergoing some redevelopment but the area just north is not (yet).

I'm not sure if I'm being clear here. I hope I've given enough information for people to provide their opinions. Thanks in advance.

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It's probably good that you aren't a stone's throw from light rail. You'll be able to use the service, but without enduring the extra noise, hustle, and bustle that would be off-putting for someone who owns a townhome or house. The only caution that I'd look into would be whether there are any new gated rail crossings where the train will be required to blow its horn. The pitch of that horn would get annoying real fast. Otherwise, though, I think that it'll either be a neutral impact or slightly positive.

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Studies done in other cities show that residential properties located within walking distance of rail stations have markedly higher values than those that do not. Assuming that your statement that you are not within a stone's throw doesn't mean that you are beyond 1000 feet from the station, you should probably see an increase in value once construction is complete and the line is open, which may not be for another 5 years. Note that properties just outside the walking radius to a station have virtually no higher value.

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Studies done in other cities show that residential properties located within walking distance of rail stations have markedly higher values than those that do not.

Having actually read through some of these kinds of studies, I've always had difficulty applying them to different cities or even to different neighborhoods within the same city in many cases. There are just too few transit systems, too many different ways that transit is physically implemented, and too many different variations of urban form and special circumstances such as are often tied to historical legacy or peculiarities of geography. So getting a consistent sample of sufficient size for statistical analysis such as would allow for meaningful predictive analysis proves very difficult.

An reasoned analysis of comparable case studies is the better route for gaining predictive insights.

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Here's a summary of studies finding that property values and rents increase near rail stations...usually within a quarter mile.

http://www.slp2.org/documents/propertyvalfs04.pdf

If you google "property values increase near rail stations", you will find dozens of links to studies on the subject, some relevant to your situation, some not. It is important to note a couple of things. One, as Niche suggested, if the rail is annoying in some way, it can negate the positive influence on property values. Secondly, since the route is already known, it is possible that the increased value of the location is already factored into the sales price of the townhome. If so, you would not realize any gain from the increased value. The seller would.

Good luck.

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How long do you plan on living there? That's the real key. If population projections are anywhere near accurate, the long term appreciation could be significant. However, in the short term, I don't think it makes one bit of difference one way or the other.

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I agree - any access to rail should be a good thing and even better if the construction won't be up in your stuff.. And hey, you can walk to Fiesta too, light rail or not.

As far as the area - I used to live nearby (closer to Southmore) to and it's a give and a take - the nice original homes are being replaced with the same 'ol townhome stock, but that's also forcing out the "undesirables" - not only the crackheads but also the renters in the "less than $1,000/month" club.

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I live in a townhouse near Austin and Anita (walking distance to the rail, but still far enough away) and love it. I bought my townhouse over others within the loop because of it's proximity to the rail. Not sure if it's valued any higher... but it definitely played a factor in my purchasing of the house. My wife and I love the area, and we know some people that live in renovated older homes right near your townhouse (and they love the area as well).

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I bet you can hear that stupid choo choo horn for miles.

Nope, only for a little over a half mile, and I say that from experience. But it only blares its high-pitched little horn at gated crossings, so that's not a problem that affects all neighborhoods.

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I think it depends on what else they're building. If your place is surrounded by other townhomes I don't think you have much to worry about.

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The real fact of the matter is where inside the loop do you NOT hear train horns? I've heard them in River Oaks, the Montrose, Washington Corridor, the Med Center, the East End, etc... There are freight trains all over this city.

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The real fact of the matter is where inside the loop do you NOT hear train horns? I've heard them in River Oaks, the Montrose, Washington Corridor, the Med Center, the East End, etc... There are freight trains all over this city.

I used to live in Memphis. Heh... people who complain about rail noise here ain't heard nuthin'.

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Thanks for all the replies! (Sorry I've been negligent for a couple of days... internet's been wonky.)

If we do purchase, we'll probably live there a while (5+ years). My wife and I don't care too much for communities that are wholly townhome-ified. We chose this location over a similar unit closer to downtown for precisely that reason. The mix of newer townhomes and older properties around our new place really gives it an eclectic feel that we like. I sure hope that there isn't too much similar development in the area in the coming years. Regardless, it'll be nice to live near the museums and park. We've lived in Meyerland for about seven years so we're really looking forward to getting into a more central location.

Thanks again, all. Best.

Simbha

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Simbha,

As a Museum District broker, I know the area very well. You must be looking at either the Phonecian townhomes or the Catco Development. Both are located on Wheeler. We really don't have a lot of data to look at in Houston as far as the price impact on surrounding real estate in close proximity to the rail line.

Personally, I think that in the long run this will have a positive impact as more lines are completed and as traffic continues to be an issue around the city.

Since both developments have access from a side street, there shouldn't be a huge issue during construction.

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