San Francisco and Oakland home values boosted by access to transit, Redfin report confirms

It’s one of those indisputable selling points: Easy access to public transportation can push up home values in a neighborhood — or in an entire city.

A new analysis of home sales and transit accessibility in 14 U.S. markets shows that San Francisco and Oakland homeowners are among the top recipients of the “transit boost.” Redfin, which authored the report, looked at more than 1 million home sales in 14 metropolitan areas between January 2014 and April 2016, correlating that data with “transit scores” for those metros.

Here’s how it works:

Redfin assigns a “transit score” to each metro, basing it on the convenience and quality of public transit in that market. As an example, San Francisco’s transit score is 80 — the highest score among the 14 metros, though still somewhat below a “rider’s paradise” score of 90.

Next, Redfin computes how much one transit score point — one of 80, in San Francisco’s case — bumps up the price of a home in a given market. The bump-up in San Francisco is $4,845, which sounds like a lot. But it’s just 0.51 percent of the median price of $950,000. (Refin is talking about the median price of all homes: old and new single-family homes, condos and townhouses.)

Okay, now let’s look at Oakland, which has a transit score of 55. The transit-induced bump-up is $2,816 — 0.54 percent of the median price of $523,000.

Where is the transit boost felt most dramatically? In Atlanta, it turns out. Its transit score is 44 and its bump-up is $1,901 — 1.13 percent of the $168,000 median price.

Seattle rates well, too. Its transit score is 57 and its bump-up is $3,457 — 0.96 percent of the $360,000 median price.

Read the report here.

And here’s a snapshot of the 14 metros and where they stand in Redfin’s analysis:

Photo: Passengers boarding a bus in San Francisco.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


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  • Frank N

    The effect sounds weak (under 1%), but I suspect that’s an artifact of the study methodology, not the facts on the ground. It lacks enough detail to show transit boost for properties near transit stops and hubs. Cities are building high-density housing at transit hubs. People accept density and small residences to avoid the need to use (or even own) cars. When those developments include below-market choices (like title 8 housing), service workers can live where they work, averting tortuous commutes. This raises transit ridership levels, helping to fund transit, and making practical the improvements in service and schedules which further encourage ridership. It’s a virtuous cycle. Shared autonomous vehicles will accelerate that process even more. I don’t have to live right at that transit hub.