Report: Expect to pay more to live near mass transit

SEATTLE – If you’re looking to buy a home soon, be ready to pay more if you want to live near one of the new or planned Link Light Rail stations.

A Seattle real estate software company called Estately recently calculated the data, which in some areas suggest home prices could surge in the few areas many still considered affordable.

“Your home is undoubtedly going to go up in value at some point,” said Estately CEO Galen Ward. “Areas near a transit stop get restaurants, shops, density and create walkable neighborhoods right there. All of those things together increase the value of housing and make people happier living there."

Homes within a mile of a light-rail station are worth 10 percent more on average, according to Estately’s data. The most expensive home values are in downtown Seattle and Bellevue.

But also in the next few years, Estately predicts where new light rail stations are planned could also see property values increase.

“At stops that are there right now cost quite a bit more, and where more stops are going to be built over 5-10 years, there’s going to be some deals,” said Ward.

“I couldn’t believe how fast it happened,” said Tukwila homeowner Mike O’Donnell, who said he sold his home in just about 2 weeks for the asking price.

O’Donnell said his realtor told him that he’s making a big profit thanks to the Link Light Rail station, which is less than a mile down the road.

“The realtor had mentioned a lot of these houses are increasing in value because of their locale to transportation,” he said.

The company has calculated similar studies in other cities like Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C.; those areas also showed similar trends of rising home values near mass transit stations.

Next it will be up to voters this fall to decide if taxpayers are ready to spend $54 billion on 63 more miles of light rail and 37 new stations across the Puget Sound.