Property Values

The National Association of Reversionary Property Owners (a non-profit, tax exempt foundation) funded a comprehensive, 35 year study  on homes surrounding the Burke-Gilman Trail, a bike path in the Seattle  area which was completed in 1978. The study uses the 1980-81 assessment  values as taken from the King County Assessor’s microfilm. The 1980-81  assessment values were the first available in the Assessor’s two year  valuation cycle after the trail was finally completed. The 1988  assessment values come from the Assessor’s microfilm records also. The  1997 assessment values come from the Assessor’s in-house computer which  carries the last four years of a property’s value. The values used in  the study are only the land value portion of the total property  assessment and do not include any value for improvements (homes,  buildings, personal property). 

As shown in the graph, houses closer to the trail did  not increase in value at the same rate as other properties in the  community. The closer a home was to the trail (which was noted to have higher rates of theft and vandalism than other areas),  the less its value was likely to increase compared to other homes in  the area. In fact, over an 18 year period, homes closest to the trail  increased in price by 250%; compare that to all homes within the county,  whose prices increased by almost 900%.

NARPO isn’t the only organization to look into decreased sale prices  of abutting homes. A decrease was also noted in an article from the May 2005 edition of the Journal of Land Economics: “A trail within 200 feet of a property is estimated to decrease its  sale price by 5.54%. The trail variable may be capturing the negative  externalities associated with noise and congestion resulting from  proximity to a trail…”