Researchers at McGill studied house sales in central Montreal before and
after the Bixi bike sharing system was launched in Montreal in 2009. They found
that a typical home in the central Montreal area they studied had about 12 Bixi stations
nearby, which had increased its value by 2.7% – or $8650 on average.
"Bixi has been under attack a lot, but the system has had some positive effects,"
says Ahmed El-Geneidy, lead author and Associate Professor at McGill School of
Urban Planning. "It favours environmentally friendly and healthy habits and now we
know it has significantly increased the value of homes in Montreal. This data shows
people here value bicycle sharing."
It is likely that other cities with similar bike sharing systems, like New York, Toronto,
or Paris, will see similar effects on housing prices. "We expect studies on other cities
will also find a positive impact on house sales," El-Geneidy says.
"Cities that are considering the implementation or expansion of bicycle share systems
must keep in mind that although they require a major investment at the beginning, the
combined benefits from such systems, including an increase in property taxes, might
well outweigh the initial costs."
The amount of the increase in property value would probably vary from one city to another.
"It depends on how much people in a particular city value cycling bike sharing," El-Geneidy
explains. The quality of the system may also play a role. "Because it was built to showcase
the Bixi model and export it, the network in Montreal is very good. Stations are well spread
both downtown and in residential neighbourhoods where many cyclists live, such as Le Plateau."