Date of Award

8-2022

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Benjamin Ofori-Amoah, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gregory Veeck, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kathleen Baker, Ph.D.

Keywords

Geographically weighted regression, hedonic pricing model, rail transit, real estate prices, streetcar, transportation planning

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

In recent decades, cities across the United States have pursued streetcars not only for their transportation benefits, but also with the goal of revitalizing downtowns and nearby neighborhoods by stimulating economic development and boosting property values. In Detroit, construction of the Woodward Avenue streetcar, also known as the QLine, was unprecedented due to the outsized involvement of private investors. Although the announcement of the QLine attracted substantial investment, ridership has largely fallen short of projections, and impacts on nearby property values were unclear. The purpose of this study was to estimate the effects of distance to QLine stations on real estate prices within a 1-mile buffer in central Detroit. Data were collected for 209 commercial and 477 residential property transactions and a logarithmic transformation was applied to the response and focus variables. A combination of ordinary least squares (OLS) and geographically weighted regression techniques (GWR) were used to estimate the impacts of station distance on real estate prices, determine how the relationship varied across space, and whether commercial and residential properties were affected differently. The results revealed a significant, positive relationship between QLine station proximity and real estate prices for both types of properties. The largest commercial impacts were observed in Downtown and Midtown Detroit, while the largest residential impacts were found in the New Center and North End neighborhoods. Overall, percentage increases in appraised value were greater for residential than for commercial properties. Although the QLine has succeeded in boosting the property values of private actors who hold business interests in Downtown Detroit, evidence suggests that these gains have come at the expense of speed, reliability, and social equity considerations.

COinS