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Real Estate

This is how public transportation is transforming California’s housing market

The share of L.A. County listings mentioning transit-related keywords has doubled since 2013

It’s spring home-buying season and thousands of prospective buyers have taken to California’s housing market.

Although many factors will influence their purchasing decisions, new data from Trulia indicates that the percentage of Los Angeles homebuyers searching for homes near public transportation is on the rise.

According to the company’s data, home listings in Los Angeles that specify public transportation have steadily increased in the last few years.

“The share of listings in L.A. including public transit keywords such as ‘metro’ or ‘subway’ has doubled since 2013,” Trulia writes. “These listings are especially common along L.A.’s Metro rail lines, which are the focus of a $120 billion public transit expansion.”

In fact, Trulia highlights that the share of Los Angeles County listings mentioning transit-related keywords rose from 2.3% in 2013 to 4.5% in 2018.

Additionally, in all but the most-expensive market segment, homes boasting of nearby transit access are selling for about 4.2% more than their counterparts.

“Los Angeles is infamous for its sprawl and car culture. But the city is actively promoting alternatives to private automobiles, and mobility in and around L.A. has changed dramatically in recent years,” Trulia writes. “Santa Monica is actively experimenting with electric scooters in its Shared Mobility Pilot Program, and L.A. taxpayers have pledged $120 billion toward expanding public transit.”

This trend has become so popular that Los Angeles home sellers are taking note.

“Some neighborhoods in the east and northwest of the region have high concentrations of transit mentions despite lying some distance from Metro’s rail network,” Trulia writes. “These neighborhoods seem mostly to fall into two categories: those with a Metrolink commuter rail station and a few with an unusually heavy concentration of listings commenting on nearby bus stops.”

Trulia claims that the shift in broader preferences toward “the urban lifestyle” could be another possible explanation for the increasing use of transit keywords.

Across the country, 16% of respondents to Trulia's recent neighborhood survey cited a lack of public transportation as an issue in their current neighborhood.

NOTE: Trulia’s analysis is based on an inspection of for-sale listings in LA County, defining transit-related keywords to include the words “metro,” “subway,” “bus,” “Amtrak,” “train,” “rail,” as well as specific Metro Line names.

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