Eric Rojas, Chicago Real Estate Broker

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Would You Buy Near a CTA Train?

The view from a recent client's new huge deck in Lakeview.

Buying a condo directly adjacent to CTA train tracks can save you up to 20 percent on the purchase price compared to similar homes located "off the beaten track".

Would you trade trade the train noise for a prime neighborhood and condo you could otherwise not afford? Or is "Mr Apartment Next to the L Track Guy" a non-starter?


Gene said...

My fiance and I bought in a building that's right next to the Francisco Brown Line Stop. We barely notice the sound anymore. Of course, since the El is on the ground at that point, and it's slowing down to stop at the station, the noise isn't too bad to begin with.

Ben said...

Agreed. We're right near the Rockwell stop on the Brown line, and people who visit us are constantly amazed that you can hardly hear the train noise at all. The grade level tracks between Rockwell and Kimball make all the difference.

Rather than a detriment, I see it as an asset - it's great to be able to walk to the station in less than five minutes.

And our 14 month old son loves watching the trains out the back window - hard to put a price on that kind of entertainment!

Eric Rojas said...

Good points. I don't think a lot of Chicagoans know the "elevated" Brown Line train is at ground level west of the North Western Avenue station.

How about someone on the elevated side? One example in Lincoln Square are the homes along Leland from Damen to Lincoln. The train runs from the Damen stop to the Western stop at a noisy clip. However, it's one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago to live in for families, young couples, senior residents alike.

Would the train zipping over your backyard stop you from buying a great house if it saved you over 20% compared to homes a couple blocks from the tracks?

I'm still on the fence...

Edward said...

Its not just the price difference, how hard is it to sell a place next to the train? How many people don't even come in when they see the train in the back yard?

Eric Rojas said...

There is definitely people who will not live by the EL tracks. But there is also more people who can actually afford the discounted price those properties sell at.
If the price is discounted accurately, these properties (all else being equal), sell time and time again.

One example is the 900 West Blocks of Barry, George and Wolfram. The Brown Line runs east of North Sheffield. I've viewed and watched properties close to Sheffield sell and re-sell to those who want the great Lakeview location but only have a certain budget. Not to mention properties along Roscoe, Wilton...
Selling faster or slower is all relative to pricing in the market and less about the train.

As far as market time, I bet an actual study would show these properties are pretty average for their relative markets. Some sellers list high, some low... just like any other property.

Carfree Chicago said...

I agree with Ben -- it's an asset being so close to the train. I live by the Belmont stop. It's elevated, but the trains are all moving slowly around the station, so probably not as loud as in the middle between stations. The new tracks at Belmont are also quieter than the old ones were. Cars and regular street noise are actually louder. Obviously, it's also preferable to be by the station for convenience and not just because it's quieter. Having three train lines less than a block from my door makes me much less reluctant to go out.

I'm also not right up against the tracks, though I have a view of the platform, which I really like.

I'd be interested in people's responses to a similar question. Would you rather live adjacent to the elevated tracks or the freeway?

Brad Miller said...

My friend lived in a beautiful home in Lincoln Park next to an EL track. It was a great old house, but every time I talked to her on the phone we had to pause our conversation for 10 seconds here or there for the train.

I wouldn't hesitate, but I'm a Chicagoan and a heavy sleeper. I doubt someone just moving here would be too excited about living next to the EL.

Tomas said...

Me & my wife live near the Sedgwick El stop in a building that hugs the tracks on Orleans St. south of North Avenue. The tracks seem to get grittier and louder at this point & practically run right in back of our garage but the street in front of our house is quaint. As native Chicagoans, we have always accepted this as part of being urbanites. It is old school Chicago & we have no regrets of living or owning by the tracks. The only people who freak out are our occasional suburban guests who can't quite understand the appeal of having a train station nearby or sights and sounds of a big city. It all depends on the mentality of the buyer.