Most neighborhoods in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area have them, and everyone’s got an opinion about them.

What are they?

No, not HOA board members (hehe).

Houses that back, front, or side to main roads.

I show homes like these all the time, and everyone always asks me, “Is that a big deal?” Here is what I typically tell them: “Like most things in life, it depends.”

First, let’s remember different features can be big deals to different people: not having a pool, having a pool, backing to a main street, sitting on a corner lot, having a formal dining room, not having a formal dining room… The list could go on like this for pages, but I’m pretty sure you’d stop reading somewhere around, “having a tile roof, not having a tile roof.” The fact is, people buy homes next to main roads every day. If they didn’t, builders wouldn’t still be building them.

Fortunately for us mathematically-minded folks, you can assign a value to nearly anything about a property once you’ve determined how big of a deal that thing is. To illustrate this point, let’s look at the two case studies below, and see if we can extrapolate (first time I’ve used that word on this blog, thank you very much) how exactly main roads affect the saleability of homes.

Alta Mira subdivision in the City of Tempe since June of 2006

Homes not backing or siding to a main road
Average Sales Price per Square Foot: $136
Average Sales Price to List Price Ratio: 97%
Average Days on the Market: 69 (approx. 2.3 months)

Homes backing or siding to a main road
Average Sales Price per Square Foot: $136
Average Sales Price to List Price Ratio: 94%
Average Days on the Market: 113 (approx. 3.8 months)

Buenavante subdivision in the City of Scottsdale since June of 2006

Homes not backing or siding to a main road
Average Sales Price per Square Foot: $199
Average Sales Price to List Price Ratio: 97%
Average Days on the Market: 86 (approx. 2.9 months)

Homes backing or siding to a main road
Average Sales Price per Square Foot: $168
Average Sales Price to List Price Ratio: 96%
Average Days on the Market: 60 (approx. 2 months)

So, what have we learned here?

After a quick glance, you might think we haven’t learned anything because the results in each community were dramatically different from each other. On the contrary, I think I’ve highlighted the fact that real estate is local – hyper local, in fact – so it’s best not to try to impose generalizations on every home you come across. I’ve heard appraisers say they adjust a home next to a main street downward by anywhere from 2% – 15%, depending on a variety of factors (traffic on the street, distance to street, fronting vs. backing, etc.). In the examples above, we learned homes near a main road can sell at a price comparable to the average sales price per square foot in the community and slower than the average home in the community, or faster than the average home in the community but at a lower sales price per square foot.

Next time you’re thinking of buying a home near a main road, or selling your current home that sits near a main road, ask your trusted real estate agent what he or she thinks of the home and how it compares to the homes surrounding it. Real estate is rarely a black-and-white matter, so make sure you’re working with someone who acknowledges that fact.

By the way, what do you think of homes near major roads? Have you ever owned one?

Image Credit: Andy Welsh on Flickr. CC Licensed.