I have always known, which has finally been proved in 2009!
The average sales price of a home in the Chicago's suburbs during the first 6 months of 2009 was 19% less than during the same period in 2009. 32 towns served by Metra were looked at in the Northern Illinois RE/MAX study that showed that the average decline was 15.4% vs 17.4% for all the suburbs (not dependant on location to the metra). The types of homes did not matter, condo or single family. What could be the reason for this difference in my opinion and others?
1. The spike in gasoline prices has increased home buyers interest in being close to the commuter train service.
2. A more stable neighborhood. Fewer people move away from the convenience offered by the location and are less motivated to move away from the train stations, towns and village and city amenities. For example in Arlington Heights, Mt Prospect and Des Plaines, the metra stations are in the heart of the towns. Walk to train, also means walk to the City Hall, library, parks, restaurants, and various other shops.
3. Because of the stability of the neighborhood, the home prices just might be more resistant to downward pressure.
4. In the past three years as our market has shifted through the economic transitions, I have noted that the suburbs closer to the city were showing the decline earlier, which generally means they will recover and start appreciating sooner, than the farther northwest suburbs. The trends seemed to move from the East to the West. I noted a full year lag from the suburbs east of 53 to the suburbs west of 53.
So if your heart is set on being in a "walk to train" location (around 5-6 blocks), keep looking and be ready!!