LIRR Connection to Grand Central to Boost Home Values

New RPA Study Shows Commuter Time Savings to Add Average of $7,300 per Household in Parts of Queens and Long Island

FROM: Regional Plan Association

NEW YORK – Home values will increase by an average of $7,300 for nearly 600,000 households in Queens and Long Island as a result of East Side Access, the Long Island Rail Road’s connection to Grand Central Terminal slated to open in 2019.

The project will shorten travel times by an average of 18 minutes a day for hundreds of thousands of Long Island commuters who work in areas in and near East Midtown. Those gains will drive an increase in home values in properties within two miles of most LIRR stations, a new Regional Plan Association analysis shows. The study, “Rail Rewards: How LIRR’s Grand Central Connection Will Boost Home Values,” demonstrates that homes within a half mile of stations will gain $3,000 in value for every minute of commute time saved, while homes within two miles will gain $2,000 for each commute minute saved. Cumulatively, home values will rise by $4.7 billion, according to the study.

“East Side Access will provide the economy of Long Island with a much-needed boost,” said Juliette Michaelson, RPA’s vice president for strategic initiatives and the lead author of the study. “When commutes are shorter, people have more time to do other things, and they will pay for the convenience.”

“Good public transit increases housing values,” said RPA President Robert D. Yaro. “We have seen time and time again in metropolitan areas across the U.S. that when commuter-rail service is added or improved, home prices near stations rise.”

“This study demonstrates why we invest in transit – good transportation drives economic growth, reduces traffic and improves communities,” said Denise Richardson, managing director of the General Contractors Association.

The East Side Access initiative marks the first significant improvement to the LIRR system in many decades. The project will bring LIRR trains to a new terminal under Grand Central Terminal on the East Side of Midtown Manhattan, home to the country’s densest concentration of jobs.

Today, Manhattan-bound LIRR commuters arrive at Penn Station on Manhattan’s West Side. Those headed for the East Side need to negotiate one or two overcrowded subway lines, or face a long walk, a slow bus trip or expensive taxi ride. ESA will deliver those commuters nearer to their destination, eliminating the most arduous part of their trip and saving valuable time and money. Some 560,000 jobs in Manhattan will be closer to the East Side Access terminal at Grand Central than to Penn Station.

Over time, the economic benefits of East Side Access could be even larger. Improved connections at Grand Central, additional transit investments on Long Island and development around station areas would spur job growth and enhance home values further.

The full report is available online here. The report was made possible by the generous support of the GCA.