As the Light Rail expansion continues, house prices are showing that proximity to stations is increasing home values. On the Eastside, houses are already showing jumps of value in anticipation of the upcoming stations. Meanwhile, houses next to the existing stations in Seattle, have already seen dramatic boosts in value compared to other houses in the neighborhood. Northgate is on the lower end of the spectrum, with an average increase value of $18,000 before the station was built in 2016; Pioneer Square has seen the greatest uptick in value averaging jumps of $78,000 more than neighboring houses according to the 2016 study by Estately.
The Seattle Times cited the same Estately study in 2016 article, housing values in Bellevue were showing increases of $65,000-$90,000 in sale value. As the date for these stations draws closer, it is expected that this increase will begin to affect all areas of the Light Rail.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR INVESTORS?
Houses close to planned stations further outside the city are actually cheaper than their neighbors, creating a unique opportunity for investors. Investment properties close to planned stations can increase your return on investment potential. Forward-thinking investors are looking beyond the areas that have already seen increases in value. Light Rail is an ongoing and long-term project; keep in mind the stations further outside of the hotspots, in the time it takes to rehab a house, the station opening date will draw closer, and values of the property could go up.
Looking at cities with more established transit systems is a good indication of what will happen as Seattle grows. For example, San Francisco and the Bay Area has experienced housing values spike two to three times their original value for properties close to transit stations, in comparison to Seattle housing.
Sound Transits East Link Extension estimated to be complete in 2023 will run 14 miles from Seattle’s International District across I-90 and end at Redmond Technology Station. It will intersect Mercer Island, South Bellevue, Downtown Bellevue, Overlake, and Redmond, making these great future investment locations.
The Northgate Extension, projected to be complete in 2021, will add four miles to the Central Link route connecting the University of Washington to Northgate. Be looking in neighborhoods like University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate to buy properties located close to the route.
The Tacoma Link Extension adds an additional two and a half miles to the Tacoma Link route with plans to be finished in 2022. It will run through Stadium District and Hilltop Neighborhood, so keep an eye out for investment opportunities there as well.
For maps and more detailed information regarding routes and station, locations visit the Sound Transit System Expansion page.
Now is the perfect time to get an estimate of how these stations will affect houses. Currently, the homes close to planned stations are showing small increases in value, and the opening date is still years away. As the Light Rail becomes smoother, more accessible, and overall more popular; prices are expected to have a significant increase and accessibility to transit could become a major selling point for a potential buyer.