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More Bikes, Better Home Value

Living close to a bike-sharing system directly results in an increase to a home's property value, a new study shows.
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(Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr)

(Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr)

One's neighborhood, school district, and home amenities all have an obvious effect on a house's property value. Researchers at McGill University in Quebec have discovered a decidedly more unexpected boost to the value of your home: proximity to bike-sharing stations.

To reach this conclusion, the research team looked at dozens of Montreal neighborhoods—ones that have bike-sharing programs, ones that do not, and ones that previously did but have since discontinued them—and examined the price history of homes that have been sold more than once between 1996 and 2012.

Their results, published in the journal Transport Policy, show that, for every one BIXI station—that's the Montreal-based, non-profit bike-sharing system—present in a neighborhood, $700 in property value is added to surrounding houses. Considering that, in Montreal, homes in a bike-sharing friendly neighborhood are, on average, within range of just over 12 stations, the value grows by almost $9,000; that's a 2.7 percent increase in sale value solely by virtue of living near a bike-sharing system.

While there has been a fair amount written on bike-sharing systems in the past, researchers have often struggled to quantify the tangible benefits of what's otherwise generally understood as a better, greener mode of transportation.

Of course, the implementation—or expansion—of a bike-sharing system would require a major investment, but "the combined benefits from such systems, including an increase in property taxes, might well outweigh the initial costs," said lead researcher Ahmed El-Geneidy in a press release. A city's population, value system, and infrastructural capabilities could all factor into the degree of a bike-sharing system's ultimate success.

Considering that many bicycle-sharing systems are facing financial problems—BIXI filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014—this study comes at an opportune moment. After all, Leo can only do so much to make biking look cool.