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A ‘Big Data’ Textual Analysis of Transportation Infrastructure in Qualitative Adjustments of Residential Property Appraisals

Authors: Matthew Palm*, University of Toronto Scarborough, Steven Farber, University of Toronto Scarborough
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Transportation Geography, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: public transit, property values, property appraisal, transportation, accessibility, home prices
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The benefits of transportation infrastructure increases residential property prices (Hess & Almeida, 2007), while transport system externalities may decrease property prices (Golub, Guhathakruta, & Sollapuram, 2012). The influence of transportation on residential property markets is well established (Mohammad, Graham, Melo, & Anderson, 2013). However, the role of transportation in appraisers' more assessments of neighborhood quality is not well understood. This paper explores the role transportation plays in real estate appraisals through textual analysis of 80% of residential property appraisals in Canada from 2009 through 2019. Specifically, we examine the relationship between key words in used appraisers’ qualitative comments—e.g. ‘traffic,’ ‘access’—and qualitative adjustments the appraisers make when estimating property values for loan underwriting purposes. Our findings will help illuminate the extent to which appraisers' subjective judgments adhere to the academic literature's understanding of the price effects of transportation.

Golub, A., Guhathakruta, S., & Sollapuram, B. (2012). Spatial and Temporal Capitalization Effects of Light Rail in Phoenix. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 32(4), 415–429. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739456X12455523

Hess, D. B., & Almeida, T. M. (2007). Impact of Proximity to Light Rail Rapid Transit on Station-area Property Values in Buffalo, New York. Urban Studies, 44(May 2006), 1041–1068. https://doi.org/10.1080/00420980701256005

Mohammad, S. I., Graham, D. J., Melo, P. C., & Anderson, R. J. (2013). A meta-analysis of the impact of rail projects on land and property values. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 50(June 2015), 158–170. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2013.01.013

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