The effect of light rail transit service on nearby property values: Quasi-experimental evidence from Seattle

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - tram/light rail, land use - impacts


light rail transit, hedonic models, housing prices


This paper examined the effect of the construction of light rail transit stations on surrounding residential property values in Seattle, Washington. It studied sales of homes in the areas around the seven stations that serve primarily residential areas in the Rainier Valley, using a difference-in-differences regression technique to obtain plausibly causal estimates of the effect of new rail service. For these seven stations, the estimated impact of light rail service was positive for only one station and negative for two stations. Estimated impacts for the other stations were small and statistically insignificant. These results suggest that light rail service did not provide value to the neighborhoods in the Rainier Valley of Seattle. I speculate that the transport service provided by light rail was not a significant improvement relative to the bus lines that serviced the area before light rail was built.


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