Bicycle Trails Good for Real Estate Values

Castaways blufftop path in Newport Beach

*NOTE:  This post is an excerpt from the League of American Cyclists Report titled The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments, as compiled by Darren Flusche, Policy Analyst, June 2009.

Many communities have recognized the broad appeal of bicycle facilities and the impact they can have on real estate values. Arlington County, Va., a silver-rated Bicycle Friendly Community, has set the goal of ensuring that all residents live within a quarter-mile of a bike facility and has currently achieved 90 percent coverage.

Bob McNamara, a Senior Policy Representative for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a 1.2 million member professional organization, emphasized the importance of transportation choice at the 2009 National Bike Summit. He argued that Realtors sell not just houses, but communities, and that increasing transportation choice increases livability.  In 2008, NAR revised its policy statement on transportation to call for the consideration of all transportation types, including bicycling, in every transportation project.

By mapping real estate transactions, researchers have been able to show that bike facilities can have positive, statistically significant impacts on home values. The design identifies the value placed on home proximity to urban bicycle greenways with a statistical formula that controls for other housing features. A study of home values near the Monon Trail in Indianapolis, Ind. measured the impact of the trail on property values. Given two identical houses, with the same number of square feet, bathrooms, bedrooms, and comparable garages and porches – one within a half mile of the Monon Trail and another further away – the home closer to the Monon Trail would sell for an average of 11 percent more.  More studies on the impacts of trails and paths can be found at the National Trail Training Partnership and the Rails to Trails Conservancy.

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My two wheeled cents:  As a Realtor I am constantly trumpeting the value of walking and biking trails as a major quality of life amenity.  In fact, a friend and client recently told me that the main reason he chose to live in Castaways—what put him over the top—was the access to the bluff trails and the “…breath of fresh air” you get when you feel that open space just around the corner.  Newport Beach’s Back Bay loop, the peninsula boardwalk, the Port Streets bike paths, Crystal Cove State Park, and the broad sidewalks of Newport Coast are all examples of good planning that positively affects real estate values.  We all should lobby for more bicycle infrastructure planning for our health & safety, quality of life, and least of all, pocketbooks.

If you’d like to see the full League of American Cyclists report, just complete the contact form on this page and mention it in your comments, or give me a call.  To speak out for Newport Beach bicycle infrastructure planning, click here.