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Q: Resale value of homes near railraod tracks ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Resale value of homes near railraod tracks
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: dedalus-ga
List Price: $12.00
Posted: 11 Nov 2003 06:34 PST
Expires: 11 Dec 2003 06:34 PST
Question ID: 274687
I have a few questions about buying a home. FYI I live in Minneapolis. 

1. Is there a study or specific data on how much longer to homes near
railroad tracks stay on the market vs. similar homes not near railroad

2. Similarly any information on at what discount homes near railraod
tracks sell vs. homes not near railraod tracks

Subject: Re: Resale value of homes near railraod tracks
Answered By: journalist-ga on 11 Nov 2003 09:33 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Greetings Dedalus:

I've located a few resources which should assist your query and first
I hope you don't mind if I share a personal RR property experience
with you.  I began searching for property in a new town last October. 
One of the homes I saw in the real estate book was a large home on one
acre that seemed priced well below market value for the area.  I asked
the real estate agent about it and she told me that it was very close
to the railroad tracks and had been on the market for about 6 months. 
She suggested I think very hard before buying it and I wanted to see
it anyway because of the price.  When I went to look at the property,
I saw that it was about 300 feet from a railroad *crossing* - a train
came through while we were there and the train's signal noise was
deafening. I decided I did not care to hear that huge sound a few
times each day.  It's been about one year since I saw the house and
the property is still on the market.


A 2000 study performed in Norway titled "The Relationship Between
Property Values and Railroad Proximity" is located at (in English) and the
study introduction reads in part "In the statistical study log linear
relationships fit the data best, and our estimates indicate that a
doubling of the distance from the railroad line, within a 100 meter
bound, increases the property price by about 10%."

Also included are reasons the study found regarding property near
tracks as more undesirable including dangers to children, perceived
negative aesthetic effects and noise.  One positive mention was that
the resident lives near public transportation and I can agree that
living near a railroad *station* would be beneficial.  I hope you will
review the entire study - it runs 26 pages including study references.


Impacts of Railroad Transit on Property Values
This is a study originating from a firm in Maclean, VA, and is very
comprehensive.  It appears to be a general document instead of
Virginia-specific.  It also lists numerous other studies in the
references at the end of the report.


Commuter Rail Study
From synopsis: "The Dakota County Regional Rail Authority in the fall
of 2001 approved the Dan Patch Corridor Commuter Rail study, which
concluded that operating commuter rail on the existing line is
feasible, but would be too expensive and result in too few riders to
make the project viable at the present time...Public comments
generated at many public meetings and open houses showed concerns with
increased freight traffic, greater noise or air pollution, vibration
damage to homes, increased traffic near station areas, reduced safety
for residents and effects on property values."
Download the PDF document of the study at


Messages from a board regarding living in close proximity to railroad
tracks and how it may affect property values are located at
Sample message in part: "The distance from the house to the tracks
seems to be a factor. Apparently, a lot of people don't particularly
appreciate trains in their backyard, so comparable houses that are a
few blocks away usually command higher prices."


Property in good, quiet neighborhoods with solid school systems always
appreciates well. Avoid proximity to business establishments,
factories, railroad tracks, heavily traveled streets, nearness to
police and fire stations and being too close to schools. "


Listed as out of scope of home inspection agreement:
"Any adverse condition that may effect the desirability of the
property including but not limited to proximity to railroad tracks or
airplane routes, boundaries, easements or rights of way, adjoining
properties or neighborhoods."


This from an article at
titled "A train runs by it - Apartments, condos spring up along
"Through focus groups, Capp found that many people opt for an urban
setting with features that make the environment unique, like railroad
tracks...Over the past several years, developers have found that
people are attracted to housing by railroads if it is near places like
the 3rd Ward, with its trendy shops, theaters and restaurants. Making
a building as soundproof as possible has also kept railroads from
being a disadvantage to property owners."


"The train noise will have a detrimental impact on property values of
adjacent properties. A federal report discussing the social costs of
freight transportation suggested there is a 0.4% decline in property
value for each 1 decibel increase in noise resulting from an increased
level of freight traffic. If noise levels increase by 25 db, for
example, this would suggest a 10% decrease in property values...The
total property value (land & buildings) of parcels within 500 feet of
each side the railroad track is $ 113,161,200 based on Olmsted County
Assessor?s records. If a 10% reduction in property value occurs this
would be a loss of over $11.3 million for the affected


Regarding railway accidents affecting the environment
"Furthermore, economic impacts on private property owners in close
proximity to the rail line can be expected. Eureka County's assessor
estimates that property values within three miles of the rail corridor
and the existing UP tracks would be adversely affected. Property
values would be diminished, even in the absence of an accident, as
soon as shipping of SNF and HLW commenced. In the case of a severe
accident, property values would decrease by a large amount, from 10 to
34 percent, depending on their use and proximity."


Should you require any clarification of the links I have provided,
please request it before rating and closing this question and I will
be happy to respond.  It appears to me from my reading of the links
that living near railroad tracks and crossings is less desirable than
living near a railway station where one may easily commute.

Best regards,


Tragedy waiting to happen
"There exists in a part of the Las Vegas Valley a potential for
disaster of major proportions. It is not inherently safe to allow
residential development of any density in close proximity -- within
1,000 feet -- to a main railroad line."

Analysis and Alternatives = Douglasville Station

Analysis and Alternatives - Port Kennedy Station

"Farmington Builders has submitted an application to the Planning
Board to build a new golf course and senior housing on approximately
285 acres of farm and open land. The land is located on Route 96
between Payne Road and County Road 8, and borders the Lehigh Valley
Railroad tracks to the north. Plans indicate that there could be up to
100 senior housing units. In addition, golf course features included a
driving range, pro-shop, future pavilion area, snack shop, and parking
spaces for more than 400 vehicles. Farmington Builders want to use
cluster zoning, which requires giving back something to the town such
as open space."
"The town is proposing to rezone 830 acres of land from industrial to
residential on properties that stretch between Manitou and North
Greece roads, North Greece and Flynn roads, and Kirk and Island
Cottage roads. The move is an integral part of the town's plan to
eradicate all industrial lands north of West Ridge Road and allow
low-density housing in the largely rural northwest. The town zoned the
land industrial because a railroad ran straight through the
properties. The rail line has not been used since at least the late

"A noise barrier will increase train noise since barrier will be
between road and tracks in Fermilab"
"It has been suggested that a berm or other noise barrier will be put
between the road and the Warrenville neighborhood. Since the railroad
tracks are directly adjacent to houses along the western edge of
Warrenville, the noise barrier would have to go between the road and
the railroad tracks. While reflecting road noise away from
Warrenville, the noise barriers will reflect train noise towards
Warrenville. The train whistles, horns, and diesel noise, which can
easily be heard 3/4 mile away, will get louder."

"Households routinely and voluntarily choose to livenear potential
hazards such as airports, flammable industrial complexes, railroad
tracks, busyhighways and nuclear power plants."

"Rental demand can be hurt if your property is on the wrong side of
the railroad tracks or if it is in the wrong school district."

"Some buildings are located under aircraft flight paths, next to
railroad tracks or downwind from industrial plants. The resulting
noise, vibrations and odors can affect the value of these buildings."


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Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 11 Nov 2003 09:37 PST
ADDENDUM:  Phrases such as "external obsolescence" and "adverse
influences" came up in my research such as the example from -
"Include market appeal, value trends and apparent adverse influences
in area, if any (e.g. railroad tracks, unkempt properties,
majortraffic arteries, hydro facilities, anticipated public or private
improvements, commercial/industrial sites, landfill sites etc"

Request for Answer Clarification by dedalus-ga on 11 Nov 2003 19:54 PST
Thanks for your detailed response. I want clarify that the house I am
looking at is next to a railroad track that carries freight and not
commuters. Does that change your answer?

Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 11 Nov 2003 21:06 PST
Thanks for the clarification, Dedalus.  No change on the answer as
many of the references I found seemed to view being near tracks (as
opposed to near a commuter station) as less than desirable locations. 
Noise aside, the possibility of chemical accidents was mentioned in
one link and, in another, the nearness to the tracks indicated
possible dangers to children.  "The Relationship Between Property
Values and Railroad Proximity" and "Impacts of Railroad Transit on
Property Values", the first two references in my answer, were the most
specific to your answer as I was able to locate.

Regarding just the noise, the notice of it does fade over time -
people learn to unconsciously ignore the whistle or train movement
sounds.  Do take into consideration the resale if you are purchasing
it to rennovate and resell.  If you're considering it as an income
property, you might have to offer rent a bit lower than comparable
properties - potential tenants might also regard the nearby railway as
a noise or danger hazard.

Best regards,
dedalus-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Resale value of homes near railraod tracks
From: liner-ga on 11 Nov 2003 14:37 PST
On the other hand, if you live in a city with commuter lines,
closeness to the tracks and the station will enhance the value of your

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