Multi-use trails have no impact – positive or negative – on property values, according to a study conducted by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
The study, conducted on about 45,000 home sales in Franklin and Delaware counties between 2011 and 2013, found that “no relationship between property values and proximity to trails (was) observed,” despite the fact that “property owners sometimes fear that trails near their homes will increase crime and reduce property values.”
The trails are used by bicyclists, runners, walkers and others.
Amanda McEldowney, a senior community outreach coordinator with MORPC, said officials with the organization that has pushed for multi-use trails in central Ohio were pleased with the results.
“We knew that there was a downturn in property values so we weren’t real sure what it would show,” she said. “We’re thrilled it didn’t show a negative impact.”
Stephanie Cashman of Delaware Realty also said she has seen no real impact on home sales near multi-use trails.
“I have not seen that it’s a cause for increase of sale or decrease of sale,” she said.
McEldowney said much of the data was collected during the downturn in the housing market. MORPC plans to do another study in about five years, and officials are anticipating different results.
“We do believe we would see a different outcome,” she said.
The study also found that the trails are heavily used, with nearly 12 million miles traveled annually. About one-fifth of users typically spend between $15 to $20 on refreshments and dining during trail visits.
The cost of central Ohio trails are also in line with those across the country, according to the study.
“I am not surprised by the results found in this comprehensive assessment of volume, preferences and costs for central Ohio trails,” said Delaware County Commissioner Barb Lewis. “We have always known that the indirect costs of better fitness and mental health for those citizens on safe maintained trails is of great importance and value to our county and its citizens. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the analysis also showed that property sales of those homes near trails don’t experience adverse effects on prices.”
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.