People want to live by the light rail – and that's boosting home prices, group says

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Home buyers want access to public transportation – and it's boosting the value of homes in the Twin Cities.

That's according to a recent study by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, which found the value of homes in neighborhoods next to Metro Transit Blue Line stations in Minneapolis not only were priced higher, but sold faster, a news release from the Metropolitan Council says.

“Today’s buyers want the option to not own a car, or if they do own a car, the option not to use it every single day," David Arbit, Director of Research and Economics for the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, said in the release.

Here's a look at how the median home prices in the area have changed since 2005:

And it looks like the same thing is happening along the Metro Transit's Green Line. Research found that since the line opened in 2014, the value of homes along the line performed better than both home values in the city of St. Paul as a whole, and the metro region.

Arbit is expecting something similar to happen in most neighborhoods along the proposed Green Line Extension and Blue Line Extension.

Need for affordable housing

As home values along light rail lines rise, the Metropolitan Council says officials need to ensure there is affordable housing along the routes.

Met Council member Gary Cunningham says there is a "great need" for affordable housing along the Green Line Extension (which would travel from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie).

"The fact is that there are many working-class families in need of affordable housing all along the line. We need to work together with stakeholders to ensure the people who need to access transit can do so," Cunningham said, while noting the argument that only wealthy people live along the route is off base.

Projections estimate that 11,200 new apartments, condos and homes will be added along the Green Line Extension by 2030. And a task force with Hennepin County is working to make sure one-third of those new units are affordable for people with low or moderate incomes, the release says.

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