Property values around light rail stations on the Gold Coast have risen 30 per cent more and spiked the most during the early planning phases, new research has found.

Researchers from Griffith University, the University of Sydney Business School and the University of Queensland are uncovering new insights into how property values rise when new public transport systems are launched.

Using residential property sales data from 1996 to 2016 the research team compared what happened within 800m of light rail stations with what happened in the area just beyond 800m.

They found property values rose significantly in both locations in the 20-year period but rose 30 per cent more around the light rail stations than they did in the locations further away.

The research from the team behind the ‘Funding on the Line’ Australian Research Council — Linkage Project is being presented at the upcoming World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research, held in Brisbane in July.

Lead author of the paper Dr Barbara Yen, of Griffith’s new Cities Research Institute, said their analysis showed the area between 100 and 400m from a station was “the sweet spot” where property values rose the most.

Locations within 100m of the light rail stations, and those between 400 to 800m away, saw property values increase at a slightly lower rate.

“It is there that the benefits of really great walk-up access to the G: Link trams are influencing property values best,” Dr Yen said.

“Locations closest to the light rail stations may get some nuisance from the roads where the trams run. Values went up in these locations but that little bit of nuisance takes a touch off the property value gains.”

Dr Yen said most interestingly the property value gains were highest during the planning phases of the project.

In locations between 100 and 400m from the stations property values went up:

  • 12% compared to the control areas between 1996 and 2002 when planning on the network began and a priority corridor was first identified;
  • another 26% from 2002 to 2006 when the main planning study was completed;
  • only 2% from 2006 to 2011 when the formal funding commitment was made and construction began;
  • and another 5.4% from 2011 to 2016 by when the light rail was up and running.

Project leader Associate Professor Matthew Burke said, “One would expect that the system would be pushing up property values given that patronage rose a full 16 per cent in the light rail’s second year of operation and it is increasingly popular with the Gold Coast public.”

“We expect that the building of the second stage to Helensvale is already having effects in that northern corridor through Parkwood. Land values at Nobby’s and Miami are also likely rising now due to the planning studies underway to take light rail through to Burleigh Heads then on to the airport, given that now looks pretty certain to happen.”

The sharp increases in value seen around the light rail investment give further support to ideas to use so-called ‘value sharing’ schemes for state governments to recoup some of the costs of their investment in public transport.

Professor Corinne Mulley of the University of Sydney Business School said land-owners around the stations had done very well out of Gold Coast light rail.

“The City of Gold Coast is getting a little of its investment back in council rates and through their public transport levy,” she said.

“The Queensland Government will get a fraction of their funds back in stamp duties when houses and apartments turnover. But the state and federal governments could have used other value sharing approaches to take back a slightly larger slice of this windfall gain to help pay for the light rail or to reinvest funds in more public transport elsewhere.”

The research was also supported by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Transport for NSW, City of Gold Coast and Queensland Airports Limited.