How does commute time impact local home values and buyer’s decisions on neighborhood selection?
According to the US Census, Americans rank having a short commute second only to low crime rates when it comes to determining where to buy or rent a home. One study found that New Yorkers will pay nearly $60 more a month in rent to trim just one minute off their commute. That trend is the same locally – buyers are willing to pay more for a home if it offers an easier commute. As a result, areas in King County with shorter commutes have higher home values.
Urban locations close to employment centers can be expensive, but efficient public transit will level the playing field, providing a more reasonable commute that reaches more affordable housing choices. In our area, the future expansion of light rail on the Eastside and north along the I-5 corridor will have a positive impact on many neighborhoods. Finally, developers are starting to take a closer look at demographics and buyer wants/needs, planning mixed use and multifamily housing near future light ail routes and transit centers.
While location has a significant impact on commute and quality of life, it isn’t just millennials and Gen X buyers who care about walk-ability and the amenities offered in urban neighborhoods. Seniors also prefer to live in vibrant urban centers, ranking it as “very important” to live in a walk-able neighborhood where they have access to restaurants, parks, arts and entertainment venues and health services.
The Eastside’s urban neighborhoods will continue to be in high demand and property values will continue to rise, for all the reasons just mentioned. As downtown Bellevue and other Eastside cities continue to grow and thrive, and with the addition of light rail making it easier to commute for work or play, people are going to discover the benefits of urban living. If you live downtown, you already know it’s a great place to call home. If you’re thinking about what it would be like to try an urban lifestyle, now could be the time to trade suburban yard work for walking the dog around the Downtown Park. Come feel the sidewalk between your toes.