Several house prices were missing from the map accompanying the article “Do Homebuyers Value Recreational Paths?,” Belmont Citizens Forum Newsletter, July/ August 2014. The Belmont Citizens Forum regrets the error. The corrected map is below.
The graphics, tables, and references below accompany “Do Homebuyers Value Recreational Paths?” Belmont Citizens Forum Newsletter July/August 2014.
The Mountain-Bay Trail is a multi-use trail near Green Bay Wisconsin. In 1998 the Brown County Planning Commission permitted a new housing development next to the trail. The Planning Commission tracked the prices of single family house lots in the new development. They observed that house lots next to the trail sold for more than comparable house lots one or two blocks away, as described in their report:
“…Brown County Planning Commission staff investigated properties that were for sale, both developed and undeveloped, in the Village of Howard adjacent to the trail. Properties selected were within the recently platted Highridge Estates subdivision, the initial phase of which is nearly fully developed, and the first addition of which is currently under development. A comparison of the lots within the original Highridge Estates subdivision indicates that those lots located immediately adjacent to the trail sold for an average of $34,200, while the remaining lots (of similar size and character) sold for an average of $31,400, a difference of $2,800 or 9 percent. In addition to selling for more, the lots along the trail also sold faster. According to representatives of the realty companies involved in the development, the lots adjacent to the trail sold immediately, while the lots further away did not sell as fast. In addition, some of those lots not located along the trail have still yet to be sold.
Recognizing what had happened, the realty companies decided to restructure the pricing of future lots located along the Mountain-Bay Trail. Therefore, in the first addition to Highridge Estates, the average lot located along the trail is now priced at $44,900, compared to $35,700 for slightly larger lots not located along the trail, a difference of $9,200 or 26 percent.
Furthermore, of two recently developed lots adjacent to the Mountain-Bay Trail in the same general area, one was just sold after being on the market for less that one month, and the other has an offer pending. Both lots were sold for substantially more than the owners had paid for them. In an interview with Planning Commission staff, the new owner of the former lot noted that his decision to buy the lot was greatly affected by its location adjacent to the trail.
It seems that evidence gathered here in Brown County, and elsewhere in the state and across the country indicates that the presence of a recreation trail does not cause an increase in crime rates nor a decrease in property values. Rather, that it is seen as a boon or amenity by the majority of the residents of a community. Likely such benefits are much greater to those who choose to live along a trail, but it seems that such benefits can also exist for those who lived in the area prior to the trail, especially when sale of the property is under consideration.”
A similar pattern occurred in the Shepard’s Vineyard housing development in Apex, North Carolina. The developers noticed that houses adjacent to a trail bordering the property were selling faster than other properties. They added $5,000 to the price of 40 homes adjacent to the regional greenway – and those homes were still the first to sell.
“What Home Buyers Really Want” BuilderBooks, 2013, is for sale ($149.99) at ebooksbuilder.com.
A powerpoint presentation summarizing many of the findings, including the Chart, can be downloaded from the Building Industry Association of Louisville.
RCLCO’s national survey of baby boomer’s preferences for amenities is described in an article on the NAHB website, which includes instructions for downloading the full report.
“12 Ways to Supercharge Your Home’s Online Listing” by Michael Corbett is available at Trulia.com
A thorough review of studies concerning the effect of recreational trails on residential real estate prices can be found in chapter 3 (pages 16-38) of “The Impact of the Little Miami Scenic Trail on Single Family Residential Property Values,” by Duygu Karadeniz, a thesis submitted for the Master of City Planning degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2008.
“Recreation Trails, Crime, and Property Values: Brown County’s Mountain-Bay Trail and the Proposed Fox River Trail,” is a report by the Brown County Planning Department, including appendices with maps and house prices.
“Prime Location on the Trail,” by Don Hopey, published in the 1999 Fall/Winter issue of Rails-to-Trails Magazine (page 18) describes the effect of proximity to a path on house prices in the Shepard’s Vineyard housing development in Apex, North Carolina.