The Impact of the Little Miami Scenic Trail on Single Family Residential Property Values

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Place: Springfield

Overview

This study found that the Little Miami Scenic Trail in southwest Ohio is associated with higher property values for nearby properties, across the urban, suburban, and rural sections of the trail. On average, homes sell for an additional $7 for every foot closer to the trail, up to about a mile away from the trail. For example, a house a half mile away from the trail would sell, on average, for $18,612 less than a house that is identical in all other aspects but is adjacent to the trail.

Relevance

This study demonstrates a statistically valid approach to estimating the effects of trails on property values. The approach is more reliable than property owners’ subjective responses to surveys, which likely reflect their own opinions about the trail. Although it is unclear whether the author controlled for potential sources of bias in this model, the findings reported here are within the range of other similar studies.

Location

The trail runs from Springfield, Ohio (population 60,423 in 2013) to Cincinnati, Ohio (population 297,150 in 2013) in southwestern Ohio.

Trail Type

Little Miami Scenic Trail is a converted rail trail and, at 70 miles, is the longest multi-purpose trail in Ohio.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to estimate how the Little Miami Scenic Trail has affected neighboring property values. The trail was opposed by adjacent landowners in one neighborhood, who argued that it would lower property values. The author tests whether this claim is true.

Findings

The analysis suggests that each foot increase in distance away from the trail decreases the sale price of a sample property by $7.05. For example, a house a half mile away from the trail would sell, on average, for $18,612 less than a house that is identical in all other aspects but is adjacent to the trail.

In addition to the statistical model, the author conducts a thorough literature review and notes that $7 is within the range of price premiums found in other studies. Across several studies, the author finds that this price effect is common, but generally does not extend beyond a mile away from the trail.

The author mentions that the increase in revenue from property taxes on higher-valued homes may partially offset some of the community’s investment in the trail, but does not attempt this calculation.

Methods

The author estimated changes in property values using a hedonic price model, which uses statistical methods to compare the prices of houses that are similar in terms of size, age, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but are different in terms of their proximity to the trail. The difference in price between homes that are identical except for their location relative to the trail is the benefit (or cost, if negative) of being close to the trail.

The author’s dataset included 376 single-family residences sold in Hamilton or Clermont Counties between 2003 and 2005. The author included nine structural variables selected for this study (e.g., house size, building condition, lot size, number of rooms), ten neighborhood variables (e.g., nearest parks, nearest highway access, amount of agricultural land nearby), and three environmental variables (distance to river, distance to nearest park, and distance to nearest trail entrance).

Citation

Karadeniz, D. 2008. The Impact of the Little Miami Scenic Trail on Single Family Residential Property Values (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). University of Cincinnati School of Planning.