Case Study: Transit Oriented Development and Residential Property Values

Outline of the Research

Transit oriented design (TOD), whereby the density of residential and commercial properties is increased around transit stations – has become a more popular urban design feature in a number of Australia’s larger cities. TOD is thought to enable encourage higher transit ridership, as well as more effectively capture the higher foot and vehicle traffic that transit stations support. Nonetheless, these urban planning policies, aimed at increasing the density of developments within walking distance from public transport notes has faced significant community opposition in a number of areas, as many residents have the assumption that TODs will decrease the value of their properties.

Recent research led by Eileen Sim, Dr. Andy Krause, and Dr. Kimberly Winson–Geideman at the the University of Melbourne investigated the extent to which the prices of residential property prices are affected by proximity to transit-oriented development around the Box Hill Train Station in Melbourne’s inner east. The research was undertaken as part of Eileen’s Masters of Property Thesis, and later published in the Pacific Rim Property Research journal

Sim et al (2015) Study Area

How AURIN was used

This research was undertaken with data obtained through AURIN. In particular the research team obtained data relating to property sales, street network, train stations, census meshblock data, as well as using the AURIN portal to measure walkability for inclusion for their analysis. The role of the AURIN portal was crucial to enabling this project. Using AURIN to access these databases made the process of data collection considerably easier, because the data-licensing and curation had already been undertaken by the AURIN team, removing the need for the researchers to go through a time- and labour-intensive process requesting access to the data and paying for the data with limited funding.

Eileen herself told AURIN:

It would have been close to impossible for me to conduct the research as a Masters paper. It may have been possible if the researcher was an experienced researcher had extensive contact with APM to gain access to that data but I was really just an amateur and purchasing it was not an option. APM has a really extensive sales database collected over many years and had plenty of details to include as variables- in fact, I was really surprised at how extensive it was!

Impact of the research

Transit-oriented development is a growing focus of urban planning and policy-making, and a number of jurisdictions have policies to support TODs to minimize urban sprawl, which makes fair access to amenities, goods and services difficulty. The impacts of the research were two-fold: the research team showed that property prices were positively affected by proximity to TODs. They were also able to suggest some novel improvements in the statistical methods used to detect the impact of factors on property prices over varying distances. This research enabled us to prove that the Transit-oriented development truly had an impact on property prices and provided strong evidence to reconsider the policies in place supporting the transit-oriented development as a solution for our future cities.

However, with today’s current conversations about housing affordability, the affordability of property prices around transit-oriented development is being challenged because it suggests that only people who are well off enough can afford to locate themselves within close proximity to the transit-oriented development to access the benefit of these amenities. The alternative options are to locate further away or to sacrifice the desirable property features and stay in an apartment close by to the transit-oriented development (not quite an option for families).