How are Home Values Affected by Trails

A concern for many home owners when a new trail is proposed is what impact there will be on property values. The preponderance of evidence from decades of studies is that close proximity to a trail usually increases property values. In fact, realtors often use such proximity as a selling point. Below are a sample of  studies and articles discussing this issue. The sources are hyperlinked so that you may read the complete studies for yourself.

A survey of homebuyers by the National Association of Home Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders, trails ranked as the second most important community amenity out of a list of 18 choices.

Source: Mecklenburg County Greenways & Trails Master Plan

Homes sales were examined in the seven Massachusetts towns through which the Minuteman Bikeway and Nashua River Rail Trail run. Statistics on list and selling prices  and on days on the market were analyzed. The analysis shows that homes near these rail trails sold at 99.3% of the  list price as compared to 98.1% of the list price for other  homes sold in these towns. The most significant feature of  home sales near rail trails is that these homes sold in an  average of 29.3 days as compared to 50.4 days for other  homes. These results are similar to those for other rail trails  showing that homes near rail trails have become desirable.

Source: Home Sales near Two Massachusetts Rail Trails

Analysis suggests that, each foot increase in distance to the trail decreases the sale price of a sample property by $7.05. In other words, being closer to the Little Miami Scenic Trail adds value to the single family residential properties.

Source: The Impact of the Little Miami Scenic Trail on Single Family Residential Property Values

Analysis indicates that the impact of proximity to a bike path on property prices is positive, controlling for the  number of bedrooms, years since sale, acres, land,  buildings, total number of rooms, total assessment. The  properties within 50m of the bike paths show a positive significance of at least $8,800 and even higher when controlled for specific variables.

Source: Property Value/Desirability Effects of Bike Paths Adjacent to Residential Areas

Eight studies reported a uniformly positive correlation while three reported mixed results (Correll et al., Krizek and Netusil). The magnitude of positive effects on existing  house prices varied from +2% to +14% when compared to control houses, and was +26% in the case of house lots abutting a trail. 

Source: Belmont Community Path Community Path Advisory Committee

Trails can be associated with higher property value. Trails are valued by those who live nearby as places to recreate, convenient opportunities for physical activities and improving health, and safe corridors for walking or cycling to work or school.

Source: Measuring Trail Benefits: Property Values