Risks Near Busy Roads

More affordable housing can sometimes be found along high traffic routes such as freeways, expressways, and other higher speed streets. What are the health, safety, and other risks near busy roads?

Risks near busy roads graphic - city street with cars and a bus driving fast.

Resale Risks

A house on a high-traffic street may sell well when the inventory is low, but in a buyer’s market with lots of competition, real estate listings with location issues may be very difficult to sell.

How busy is too busy? It’s not black and white, it’s increasing shades of gray. Best for resale (and many other causes for concern) is a quiet residential street, of course. At the other end of the spectrum is being directly on a fast moving, heavily used highway. If you make use of Google’s street view, you can see the speed limit if posted, or if there’s a double yellow line down the middle, or if it’s 2 lanes in each direction.

Practical Considerations and Safety

Obviously, being directly on a boulevard can mean that practically, it’s hard to back your car out of the driveway in the morning. Traffic headaches can mean leaving or getting back home may be delayed during certain times of the day.

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How much do location issues impact the ultimate sales price of a home?

Location issues and impact on home valuesSavvy Silicon Valley home buyers tend to look at properties with an eye toward what they can change versus what they cannot change.  It’s a pain, but not really so hard, to make cosmetic fixes or upgrade a house or condo.  It’s more work, but still possible in most cases, to move walls around.  With some houses, an expansion may be an option.

But the one thing that cannot be changed is location issues. Things too nearby like high voltage power lines, train tracks, freeways, schools, busy roads, commercial properties, less expensive properties or types of residences (such as apartment buildings) will pull the property value down.  Similarly, being on a T intersection, having neighbors with run down houses will also impact pricing because again, the home seller cannot control or mitigate their impact. The question is how much of a home pricing impact will it be?

From a slightly busier than normal street to a quieter one, it could be as little as 3-5%.  Being directly on a main road, it could be 10% or more.  Pile up several unfixable issues and it will possibly be more, perhaps 15%, or higher. In general, 10% is a good working number to use but it could be too high or too low based on your particular situation. (more…)