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'Close to bus line' pays off in value

Homes close to public transportation are worth more than similar properties that don't have nearby access to subways, rail lines, or buses, according to a study commissioned by the American Public Transportation Association and the National Association of Realtors.

Researchers evaluated five years of sales data in several major metros with various public transportation options. They found that homes located within a half-mile of public transportation were valued 41 percent higher than properties located outside that area.

"Transportation plays an important role in real estate and housing decisions, and the data suggests that residential real estate near public transit will remain attractive to buyers," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "When consumers choose a home, they also choose a lifestyle. Shorter commutes and more walkable neighborhoods matter to a growing number of people, especially those living in congested metro areas."

While buyers show a desire to be close to public transportation, they don't want to be too close, the study found. For properties too close to certain features, like the actual rails for the light rail system, property values can be adversely impacted.

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