Houston residents will soon have a way of traveling between the city and its north suburbs without the use of a car.
In December, the North Line rail extension is expected to carry its first riders through Houston’s north side, according to a recent report by The Houston Chronicle. The North Line, which will run from the University of Houston Downtown to the Northline Transit Center, will hold a test trip in September. Barring any setbacks, the transit line will open its doors to passengers in December, the first of three alike lines scheduled to be built in Houston by 2015.
The North Line is a 5.3-mile extension of the already existing red line, which runs through downtown. The sprawl of public transit into Houston’s surrounding suburbs is new for the city, and Tim Surratt, a realtor with Greenwood King Properties, believes the rail line will positively impact the real estate market in the communities it affects.
Surratt, who said he has not noticed any immediate changes in buyer’s or seller’s interest, said the North Line will be the first train system to connect downtown Houston with nearby residential neighborhoods. He is unsure how large the impact will be, given that the transit is the first of its kind in Houston.
“Most of those neighborhoods already— because they’re so close in—are already booming at this time,” said Surratt, who started his real estate career in Woodland Heights and Independence Heights in 1983. “Houston’s never had a rail line go through the residential area, so I think once it goes through this area, the other neighborhoods are going to be clamoring to get their section done too, once they see what a positive impact it’ll have on their neighborhood.”
According to the Houston MLS, Woodland Heights, one neighborhood the North Line passes by, currently has a month’s inventory of 1.1 and an average listing price of $599,500. Ryon, another north side community, has a higher month’s inventory—7.4—but its average listing price is $132,275, nearly double its average closing price for 2012. Lindale Park, North Lindale, Northside Village and Independence Heights each have less than 1.7 month’s inventory.
Despite being uncertain of how great a difference the North Line will have on real estate, Surratt is happy that it is time to find out.
“I think it’s great, and it’s about 10 years too late,” he said. “They should have done it years ago, but I’m glad they’re finally doing it.”