An alert — and frustrated — “06880” reader writes:
When my wife, daughter and I moved to Westport in the 1980s, the main reasons were the schools, and amenities like Longshore.
But another major reason was that my wife’s commute to the city would work (barely). It was about an hour on Metro-North.
However, as the real estate agent explained to us, houses closer to the city cost more. Her rule of thumb was that for every extra minute of commuting time, homes were $10,000 less expensive. For us, Westport was the “sweet spot.”
It now takes about 20 minutes longer to get to New York City by train than it did back then. That means our house (the same one) is worth $200,000 less than it would if the trains ran on the same schedule.
Westport has about 10,000 homes. If they’re worth $200,000 less on average, that means they’ve lost $2 billion in value due to slower trains.
That $10,000 figure was in 1980s housing dollars. It might be 3 times that much now.
And we were looking at lower-priced houses in Westport, so that $10,000 figure for the lower-priced houses in Westport we were considering was probably twice that for higher-priced houses. So perhaps the real cost of slow Metro-North trains might be 6 times as much: $12 billion.
That’s real money!