All Aboard Florida caused drop in sale prices for homes near rail line in Martin County, study shows

Posted on June 2, 2015

Jennifer Sorentrue

All Aboard Florida’s plan to return passenger service to the Florida East Coast Railway tracks resulted in a drop in sale prices for smaller homes along the rail line in Martin County, according to a study released today by the Martin County Property Appraiser’s Office.

The study, which was conducted by Jesse Saginor, the Director of Housing, Economy, and Urban Development for the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions and an Associate Professor at Florida Atlantic University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, found that All Aboard Florida had the greatest impact on smaller homes located within 400 feet of the FEC tracks.

The study found the value of medium-sized homes dropped after All Aboard Florida unveiled plans for its express-passenger train service in 2012. Larger homes within 400 feet of the rail line were negatively affected by the project, Saginor concluded.

All Aboard Florida plans to run 32 trains a day — 16 round trip — on the Florida East Coast Railway between Miami and Orlando. Service is expected to start in 2017.

The study examined 13,332 residential property sales in Martin County between 2005 and February 2015.  It found sales prices dropped by $16,681 for homes smaller than 1,532-square-feet that were located within 400 feet of the tracks. The drop occurred after All Aboard announced plans for the project.

Homes of that size that were located between 400 feet and 1,000 feet from the tracks saw their sales prices drop by $10,502, the study said.

Meanwhile, the study found homes larger than 2,185-square-feet that were located between 400 feet and 1,000 feet from the tracks saw sale prices rise. The increase attributed to the properties’ proximity to the water.

“A major reason for the positive impact has little to do with the location of the FEC East line and more to do with the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean for larger homes east of the rail bridge,” the report said.

“Despite the lack of an impact based on rail proximity, the premium for waterfront homes west of the rail bridge did not increase at a rate comparable to other waterfront properties east of the rail bridge. The reason may be the fact that the impact of the railroad is reflected in lower waterfront premiums just west of the rail bridge.”

All Aboard Florida on Monday disputed the findings.

“There is clear concrete evidence from numerous examples where real estate values proximate to passenger rail systems have significantly increased,” the company said in a statement. “Furthermore, we have seen no conclusive data that suggests passenger rail such as All Aboard Florida, which will operate on an existing rail corridor, has any negative effects on nearby property values.”

Martin County Property Appraiser Laurel Kelly in January asked the county commission for $60,000 to conduct the study.

An initial review by Kelly’s office found 2,800 properties within 400 feet of the tracks, and 7,337 properties within 1000 feet of the tracks.

About 3,600 waterfront properties are west of the St. Lucie River drawbridge.

Click here to view original article