Blog :: 04-2013
As a New Jersey Realtor, I am a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Last week I read a news release on the NAR website that confirmed what I've been seeing over the past several years: homes near public transportation tend to command a higher price than others.
According to a study done by NAR and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), homes located near public transportation with high frequency service performed 42% better during the last recession than those further away. The difference in value was so striking that APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy declared, "When homes are located near public transportation, it is the equivalent of creating housing as desirable as beach front property."
The study looked at housing prices in metropolitan Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, and the Twin Cities. Although New York was not included, I would certainly add it to the list. Montclair homes located along the DeCamp bus route or near one of 6 New Jersey Transit train stations lost remarkably little of their value during the recent economic downturn demonstarting that while prime Montclair real estate may be pricey in the short term, it is a smart investment (not to mention a terrific place to live) in the long term.
Many of my Walkable Suburb posts are aimed at young families or families with school-aged kids, since these are generally the folks interested in backyards and good NJ public schools. I recently read a blog post on one of my favorite websites, though, that reminded me that walkable communities are good for all generations.
The post, on Walk Score, discusses the need to create or retrofit communities to accommodate the coming flood of retiring Baby Boomers. Author Jocelyn Milici Ceder points out that senior citizens who live in walkable communities tend to be happier and healthier than those who live in car-dependent ones. Why? First, walking to one's errands or entertainment is an easy way to get some exercise. People who walk as a mode of transportation are also likely to have more social encounters than those who drive everywhere. Having a car is not even necessary in a walkable community, which is a boon for seniors on a fixed income who no longer want to pay for gas and car insurance.
Aging Baby Boomers will naturally want to remain in their homes as long as possible. Since they are the generation that created suburbia, though, this means aging in communities that can be quite isolating. Considering their sheer numbers, it seems to me that walkable communities will be the wave of the future.