The median sales price of housing in towns along Metra's suburban commuter lines rose twice as fast as the price in other communities, according to a recent study of the metro Chicago real estate market.
Plans for Metra STAR Line (Suburban Transit Access Route) stations in Plainfield appear to be on hold indefinitely. At a recent village board meeting, Village Administrator Brian Murphy said the proposal, which called for commuter rail stations in downtown Plainfield and near I-55 and Renwick Road, are dead — but could be revived sometime in the future.
However, towns like Romeoville, which is scheduled to break ground on a train station next year, could see a boost in home prices.
According to the study, sale prices rose the most on the Metra Electric line, which runs through the South Side and into the south suburbs, with stops in Olympia Fields, Homewood, Flossmoor, Matteson and University Park. The median increase was 48 percent over 2012's median price.
In the 116 communities with Metra train service, the median sales price increased 5.6 percent to $170,000 compared to the same time period in 2012, according to the Metra Communities Study conducted by RE/MAX. The median sales price rose 2.3 percent to $148,000 in suburbs without Metra service.
The lowest increase in sales activity, just 16 percent over 2012, was on the Heritage Corridor line, which passes through Summit, Willow Springs, Lockport, Lemont and Joliet.
The study compared home sales in the first half of this year to similar periods last year and in 2008, which is when the real estate market was still near its peak, according to RE/MAX, which has conducted the review for five years. The study relies on sales data gathered by MRED, LLC, the regional multiple listing service.
Among other findings:
- growth in home sales activity was similar in the Metra-served communities (29 percent) and suburbs without Metra lines (28 percent);
- the 2013-to-2008 comparison was similarly close, with Metra communities seeing a 66 percent increase and suburbs without Metra service gaining 67 percent;
- 10 of the 11 lines saw sales activity increase between 24 and 37 percent and the median price gain between 5 and 9 percent.
— Dennis Robaugh