Stephen Smith’s Market Urbanism blog has an intriguing analysis that is clearly of interest to TransLink these days:
The Wall Street Journal ran an article a few days ago claiming that the MTA’s recent NYC transit cuts have lowered real estate prices along train and bus lines that have been axed. While it’s not a quantitative study, the anecdotes are compelling:
“The buyer who buys in Astoria is looking for a cheaper price and to get into Manhattan quickly,” said Ms. Palmos, adding that she is having the same problem with a condominium building in Upper Ditmars, north of Astoria. Apartments there that she said would have easily sold for $500,000 with the express bus nearby are now languishing on the market at prices about $420,000.
” ‘How far is it to the train?’ That’s the first thing people ask me,” said Charles Sciberras of Realty Executives Today, a longtime Astoria broker. “The closer to the train the higher the demand… Two to three blocks away from transportation is very easy for me to rent.” …
What’s most striking to me is that a simple express bus route can raise prices by $80,000 for a single apartment. Multiply this by the thousands of apartments along the bus route and it appears that the lost value from the cut bus route ought to exceed, by orders of magnitude, the cost of maintaining the route.
But of course, since the MTA doesn’t see a penny of the value it creates, it isn’t surprising that “the impact on property values isn’t something the agency takes into account.”
One way for transit agencies to benefit from the value they create is the use of “tax-increment financing” or “special-assessment districts” that levy taxes on infrastructure improvements specifically on those who benefit, but these mechanisms are pale imitations of the only way to truly link transit-induced value and real estate: allowing joint ownership.
Hmm, so maybe a senior government applies an overlay over a transit corridor that raises revenue based on property values, and then transfers the money to the transit agency.