Much was made in the 1990s about the “Midtown Direct” effect in New Jersey—the apparent causation of major increases in home values and housing demand in certain New Jersey suburbs, Maplewood included, by the creation of new commuter train lines with one-seat rides to midtown Manhattan. Faster, more convenient commutes equates to more well-paid Manhattan workers wanting to live in New Jersey, so the thinking goes.
Now the Regional Plan Association is out with a study that looks at the rise in home values that followed the creation of the Midtown Direct line in the `90s, along with other improvements that opened up a more convenient commute, and makes predictions about what a new Hudson River rail tunnel, called Access to the Region’s Core (or ARC), might do for commuters in future years.
The result, RPA suggests: Property values for homes within two miles of a station could rise by a total of $18 billion. (It’s probably good to note here that RPA, which has long advocated regional transit and another rail tunnel, gets a significant amount of its funding from the two agencies sponsoring the tunnel: the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit.)
A few other stats from the study:
-RPA found the average time savings ARC would create for NJ Transit riders going to midtown would be about 10 minutes per trip.
-That time savings, by RPA’s accounting, would equate to an average $19,000 increase in value for homes within two miles of stations.
-Closer stations—those within a half mile—are estimated to gain $29,000 in value.
The full study is here.