Personally, I live on a very busy street – possibly the busiest street in New Westminster. It’s a major bus route. It’s also the emergency response route – at all hours of the night we get first responders blaring by. Not to mention the school directly across the street!
All this disruption definitely affects my quality of living, and it downwardly affects the property value. But that is mainly why we bought this house. The price was a trade off. It was cheaper than buying on a quiet street.
To calculate how resale value is affected in New Westminster I did two band searches to compare data: one inclusive of only busy streets and one exclusive, in New Westminster neighbourhoods that I know otherwise had very similar homes. I compared the numbers across the various neighbourhoods. They tended to vary – on the low end at approximately 10% difference and the high end at a 20% difference.
Finding a definitive answer is tough, because many busy streets have long been densified with low-rise buildings, mixed use, and store fronts, surrounding a quieter block interior of residential homes. Long before modern city planning, the divide existed and still exists today: shop keepers who want a frontage on a busy boulevard to attract customers while residents want a quiet place to live.
Now here is where it gets complicated. This is why we can’t just stamp a discount percentage on property fronting busy streets.
Many Lower Mainland communities are adding densification zoning along busy street corridors, which turns property value on busy streets on its head. Densification zoning dramatically increases the land value of a busy frontage, making these busy street properties much more valuable than their quiet neighbours.
In the future we could very well see busy streets taking on new meaning in the real estate investment market, as visionaries invest in the future value of densification, leaving behind the notion of quiet suburban development in favour of urban redevelopment.