UrbanTurf Reader Asks: What Will Streetcars Do For Property Values?

by Mark Wellborn


In this week’s installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader who is in the market for his first home wonders what the coming streetcar lines will do for surrounding property values.

I have been casually looking for my first condo for about six months now, and just recently started looking seriously. I have also been following the progress of the streetcar lines that DC is currently installing along H Street and the timelines for when construction on the other lines will start. My question is this: Will the arrival of these new lines have a similar affect on property prices in the same way that the opening of a Metro station would or does it make little sense to factor this mode of transportation into the future resale value of my home?

Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_what_will_streetcars_do_for_property_values/1739


  1. LP said at 12:44 am on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    Realtors, developers, and property managers have been not-so-casually mentioning the H St. Streetcar promise for a number of years.  It would seem like any property value bump from the streetcars has already happened in this location.  Other phases of the streetcar that affect Bloomingdale, Truxton Circle, Ledroit Park, and Shaw have only more recently been announced and have not been used yet that I’ve seen in advertising.  I would expect significant increases in property values in those neighborhoods bordering Florida Ave. and Rhode Island Ave. resulting from streetcars.

  1. maria said at 9:17 am on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    I agree with LP in that the streetcar construction has probably already provided a bump for the H Street area, BUT once those cars are in place, the area should expect another value increase.

  1. Mary said at 9:58 am on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    Oh, I think it’ll boost property values no question. I recall when my parents bought in Bethesda in the early ‘80s, metro still didn’t go further than Gallery Place. The march of the red line out Wisconsin Ave, even though one knew where the stations were going to be, had a huge impact on property values. I think the bigger source of uncertainty…is when the street cars will arrive, how much might they be delayed and so forth and what impact would that have on the home value appreciation you’re hoping for?

  1. JonB said at 11:07 am on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    Like the U Street Metro, the arrival of these lines will make the properties and neighborhood around them more attractive, so yes, property values will likely go up.

  1. wdc said at 12:13 pm on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    Access to streetcar is equivalent to access to metro.  Throughout DC, proximity to a metro station is a big plus for housing stock as not everyone has cars, parking, etc, so if you own near a street car line, then that will be a boon to your home’s value.  It’s clear that the H Street line is happening and that this area will now have good public transportation, which much of it currently lacks, so that will be big there.  It’s less clear if and when some of the later lines will happen, so if you are counting on that make sure your line is scheduled to happen and not just part of some grander hopes for the long, long term future.

  1. JohnDC said at 12:52 pm on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    I would like to see a rough approximation for when the various line would come online. It just shows various phases and saying the whole thing will be complete between 7 to 10 years.

    While I agree that it will affect home prices I think more immediate development will have a greater affect. Harris Teeter by the new york ave metro (NOMA) for example.

  1. DB Cromwell said at 1:57 pm on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    Don’t assume that streetcars or any other type of public transportation can make your wallet fatter. Does anyone know if the Baltimore streetcars/trains have led to higher property values? I think it’s safer to assume that there are variety of other factors that can increase the value of properties. For example, Gtown has no metro, buses have a difficult time navigating through the outrageously crowded narrow streets, parking is a nightmare, side walks are simply dangerous for the elderly to go on a stroll due to the abundant amount of aggressive shoppers and Hoya runners, yet the property values are out of reach for the masses. On the other hand, I like the prospects of streetcars in the H St corridor. For too long, this neighborhood has received a lot of negative comments (rightfully deserved in few cases). Streetcars can have a positive effect on property values if variety of vendors propagate, citizens fight crime, developers start condo/house projects, etc. If not, people might say the H St corridor is that nasty neighborhood with streetcars that you want to avoid at all costs.

  1. AJohn1 said at 9:50 pm on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    Improved public transportation usually helps support greater population density immediately around the station. More amenities usually follow as well.

    So, in the long run, I’d think we’d see more high-density housing along H Street and more retail and dining options as well. That should mean higher housing prices in the long term (20-30 years down the road).

  1. Martin said at 10:26 pm on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    I think the key distinction here is that the streetcar itself will not raise property values - the streetcar will encourage development, which will raise property values. For example, the H Street streetcar line isn’t really doing much for property values by itself, but the additional density and new projects (such as the H Street Connection project at 8th-10th H) will bring amenities, retail, restaurants and wealthier residents, and *those* things will raise property values…

  1. Rick Bosl said at 3:42 pm on Wednesday February 3, 2010:

    I agree with Martin. With transportation comes development, which causes an area to gain popularity.

    Will be interesting to see when there are more street cars what happens in these areas.

  1. dccd said at 11:21 am on Sunday February 7, 2010:

    I don’t expect to see my residential property increasing because of the streetcars.

    but if i had a brick and mortar near a street car stop, especially a transfer stop, i’d expect more business. empty lots near streetcars stops will skyrocket.

    nothing west of georgia /7th street will be affected at all, except the intersection of 7th/u/florida.

    rhode island ave will see the biggest swing around, as the line is not replacing a bus, but adding service. sure you can catch the bus from RI ave metro, but nothing connects woodridge to downtown, and theres a whole lot of emptiness and cheap real estate in woodridge.

    h street will be paved in gold. but its already not that cheap anymore.
    once its all said and done, h street will be the hottest spot in the city, with 7th and u not far behind.

  1. Ben said at 4:10 pm on Tuesday February 23, 2010:

    Join the Wisconsin Avenue Streetcar Coalition (Facebook) to support a streetcar route on Wisconsin Avenue from the Friendship Heights and Tenley metro stations to Georgetown.  The District of Columbia Transit Improvements Alternatives Analysis report (October 2005) found this route would have the highest ridership of the nine routes examined.  As with streetcar routes in other parts of the District, this would encourage further infill development along this major corridor.  There are still plenty of surface parking lots and some vacant parcels along Wisconsin Avenue.

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