Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Study finds Metra stop ups Evanston home values

RE/MAX Northern Illinois released its fourth annual Metra community study last week, revealing home values in Metra-served communities – including Evanston – were higher than in other communities over the past five years.

“What the Metra study has been studying is if houses that are located in markets that have Metra lines show any type of difference in towns where there is not a line,” said Laura Ortoleva, RE/MAX Northern Illinois communication strategist.

Although the study reported Metra communities generally have shown increased home values, data from 2011 indicated a decrease in values.

“We know that living in proximity to a commuter rail line or CTA line increases the value of the house, not exclusively monetarily, but it makes it much more attractive for people to say you live within walking distance of a train station,” Metra spokesperson Michael Gillis said. “It’s not surprising this study has come to this conclusion.”

Overall, home values in the area have suffered greatly since the housing boom of 2006, the study reports. Median home values decreased from a median of $242,000 in the spring of 2006 to a median of $160,000 in the spring of 2011.

The average market time – how long a house is for sale – increased from an average of 87 days in 2006 to an average of 179 days in 2011.

“I think this is primarily because of the global market, and I think that is what affects us the most,” Ortoleva said. “It affects everything and makes it harder to rebound.”

Evanston’s median home values for the first six months of 2006 were $342,500. Median home values for January through June of both 2010 and 2011 were $296,000 and $288,500 respectively.

“Our UP (Union Pacific) North line runs through Evanston, and we have a lot of riders in Evanston,” Gillis said. “It is a thriving area. I’d say Metra is probably one of the factors there, but there are other factors as well.”

Ortoleva said selling times on homes are decreasing and that this is the best time to buy a home.

“The houses are becoming more and more quicker to sell,” Ortoleva said. “Consumer confidence has somewhat stabilized.”

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Study finds Metra stop ups Evanston home values