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Last updated: February 9, 2024 • Marketing Tips

The Pros and Cons of Living Near a Highway

The sound of traffic can be comforting to some and the bane of city life to others. Along with the rush of cars whizzing by may come possible honking and squealing, but the drone of traffic might bring a sense of connection. A highway brings pros and cons to every neighborhood or real estate property, and while some may think it seems like a horrible thing, it can also make the house more appealing to certain home buyers.

Article Summary:

Turn to experts for accurate answers concerning living near a highway!

aerial view highway road city

If you’re worried about a new highway plan or thinking about investing in recession-proof real estate near the highway, here are some things to consider. In the meantime, we must stress that property value near the highway differs in each case. Thus, we recommend buyers and sellers reach out to an established local real estate agent for specific details. 

For instance, agents can address how far you should live from a highway or what is a safe distance to live from a highway. Moreover, they will reveal both sides of the coin. Is it bad to live next to a highway, and what are the advantages of highways? And most importantly, whether it’s the perfect fit for you!

Pros of living near highways:

highway near in california

Buying a house near a highway means access to plenty of perks. Easy travel? Check! You get on the road fast. This saves time every day. Big stores and malls are usually near highways, too. So, shopping is quicker. More jobs can be found because some businesses, such as hotels, motels, gas stations, restaurants, coffee houses, repair shops, etc., thrive near highways due to their convenient location for many customers. Emergency services reach you faster. This makes living safer. Also, homes near highways can cost less. This saves money when buying a house. Living next to a freeway means convenience, quick access, and savings. Let’s take each advantage point by point!

Accessibility

Highways make it easy to get wherever you need to go without the hassle of figuring out random streets and complicated routes to your destination. Some studies show that home value increases drastically after a highway is added, especially when it’s connected to a bigger city’s road system. It makes getting back to town a lot easier!

Business potential

For people searching for professional real estate property, a highway can mean more traffic and more exposure for their business. This also makes it easier for the big city to stretch its reach, and many businesses that can’t invest in inner-city real estate property usually aim for the next best thing: roadside property.

Future development

A highway usually marks the rising trend of neighborhood and retail developments, new city fixtures, extra stores and shops, and an encroaching suburban lifestyle. While for some, this is an exciting future, for those who invested in a quiet location, this can be a negative side effect.

Put it this way! If you have a home near the highway, you can live in it, but if you don’t like living near the highway, you can always use it as an investment property. Having a second home near the highway places you in a good spot if you want to travel around the city. On the other hand, if you have a second home near the highway, you can rent it out as a vacation property or Airbnb. It is such a convenient location for many, so earning some passive income from it would be effortless.

Affordable prices

One thing you can certainly benefit from is the fact that prices for homes near highways are usually more affordable. Although not always the case, most of the time you will find that home sellers have a hard time selling property near the highway, with most target demographics raising concerns about noise, traffic, and so on.

Good street maintenance

There is nothing worse than being in a rush and having to deal with poor road conditions. This might be common on side streets or low-traffic roads but not as much on main roads or highways. Highways are regularly maintained, and by living near one, you don’t have to worry about poor road conditions.

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Cons of living near highways:

highway in sunrise day

Living near a highway can be noisy. Cars and trucks make a lot of sound. Most people are well aware and afraid of living near a highway because of the noise. This noise can interrupt your sleep and be stressful. The air near the roads is also dirty. Cars release fumes that can harm your health. Then, traffic makes it risky, too. More cars can mean more accidents near your home. 

You won’t find buying a house near a highway challenging. But if you want to sell your house later, you might need expert help. Lastly, highways have few trees or green spaces. This can make the area less pretty, with fewer places to enjoy outside. So, is it bad to live next to a highway? Let’s examine our main concerns one by one!

Noise

The noise is probably the most obvious downside to living near a busy road. While it’s just another part of life for some, it can be a serious problem for others. Depending on your home buyers, the property may become harder to sell. And there are serious illnesses to cover. Unfortunately, you risk contracting many diseases by living in a house too close to the road if you live there for a prolonged period.

Noise pollution next to US highways is a significant concern for urban planners, health experts, and residents. Simultaneously, noise pollution is one of the most significant threats for real estate developers. The issue arises from the continuous and high sound levels of vehicles and weighty trucks. In addition, the sirens of police vehicles and ambulances frequently create an unbearable racket, mostly at night. The primary sources of this noise include engines, exhaust systems, interactions between tires and pavement, and aerodynamic noise from the vehicle bodies.

How do official authorities respond to noise pollution next to highways?

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) keeps data on highway noise. Their studies show noise levels above 70 decibels near busy roads can disturb sleep and conversations. Official steps include building noise barriers and tall walls between the highway and neighborhoods. These barriers help decrease the noise reaching homes.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports barriers reduce noise by 5 to 10 decibels. This drop in noise makes a big difference for people living near highways. The government also looks into quieter pavement. Unique materials can lower road noise.

Living close to highway health risks

apartament building nextt to road

Living near a highway may raise health concerns related to auditory pollution. Continual exposure to elevated decibels could lead to the following adverse health effects.

  1. Auditory impairment

The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented that consistent sounds surpassing 70 decibels can impair hearing over time. Soundproofing the windows and the ceiling are some of the best tips to reduce noise pollution.

  1. Heart-related problems

Persistent noise from transport arteries such as highways is linked to an upsurge in the likelihood of cardiovascular ailments. Research presented in ‘Environmental Noise and the Cardiovascular System,’ featured in the journal of the American College of Cardiology, associates noise with stress markers like cortisol and points out that it could contribute to high blood pressure, prompting heart-related diseases and cerebrovascular accidents.

  1. Sleep disruptions and psychiatric concerns

Frequent disturbances from traffic noise can lead to erratic sleep. To make things worse, this can lead to a whirlwind of aftereffects. Sleep disruptions can impede cognitive abilities, amplify stress, and damage general health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has highlighted that inadequate sleep is a contributing factor to persistent health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and mood swings. Studies have established a clear link between the degree of noise exposure and the framework of mental stress.

Landlocked issues

While highways make it easier for people to get back into the city, they can also complicate existing routes to many houses. If there’s no proper way to get back to a house, this makes it hard for people to find alternative ways back to their homes. If you can, try researching extra roads in the nearby area and inform buyers of the additional routes available to them.

Less safety

The iconic—and terrifying—scene in Stephen King’s ‘Pet Sematary’ did highways no favors when it came to parental approval. For many families with children or pets, highways are a serious no-go when it comes to buying a home. The risks and dangers are a bit too much, and most families prefer the safety of more solitary streets. For this reason, we recommend moving to more family-friendly small-town destinations, such as Alexandria, VA, and Frisco, TX!

Lack of privacy

Whether neighbors are walking by your home or people driving by in cars that will turn their heads to look your way, more privacy is undoubtedly needed. For a lot of people, this can make them feel insecure in the privacy of their own homes, and many might even consider installing reliable home security systems even though there is no actual evidence that homes near highways are more prone to break-ins.

Explore US cities next to a highway!

aerial panorama new york city

In the United States, countless cities and towns are located next to highways, as the vast interstate system connects various regions and communities. Let us highlight some remarkable examples!

  • Los Angeles, CA, neighbors numerous highways, including the I-5, I-10, and US Route 101.
  • Chicago, IL, sits near the I-90 and I-94.
  • Dallas, TX, is crisscrossed by several interstates, including I-20, I-30, and I-35.
  • Atlanta, GA, is bordered by I-75, I-85, and I-20.
  • Denver, CO, is located near I-25 and I-70.
  • Seattle, WA, is next to the I-5 and I-90.
  • Boston, MA, sits along I-90 and I-93.
  • Miami, FL, is adjacent to I-95 and I-75.
  • Although primarily known for its outstanding public transportation, New York City, NY is near I-95 and I-78.
  • St. Louis, MO, is near I-70 and I-64.

Apart from the big cities, numerous small and delightful towns and communities are located along highways all over the United States. These tiny towns might be situated along less prominent state highways or U.S. routes. Nevertheless, they connect minor road networks to the more prominent interstates.

US cities with the worst vs. the most tolerable noise pollution

Grist provided data concerning noise pollution in major cities hosting “redlined neighborhoods.” Despite being known as one of the cleanest American cities, Miami, Florida, features one of the worst noise levels. Furthermore, Austin, Texas; New York City, NY; San Francisco, CA; Denver, CO; and Chicago, IL, suffer from substantial noise pollution. Interestingly, even Grade A neighborhoods in Chicago and Miami were identified as having the highest noise levels above 95 decibels.

On the other hand, Columbus, GA; Davenport, IA; and Jackson, MS, were reported as having the most tranquil urban centers, undisturbed by high traffic.

Living near a highway – is it cheaper or more expensive?

street sign direction cheap vs expensive

Usually, property value near the highway benefits from a discount. Most homebuyers prefer less noise and traffic than is found on a roadway. For this reason, homes on busy streets will likely sell at a 5-10 percent discount. So, what are the advantages of highways? This can be a genuine bonus, especially if you’re a buyer without kids or pets and on a tight budget.

The cost can change depending on location, property type, and local real estate market conditions. We advise conducting thorough research or consulting with a real estate professional in the specific area of interest! 

What is a safe distance to live from a highway?

Undeniably, most people are curious about what’s considered a safe distance to live from freeway pollution. There is no universally defined “safe distance” to live from a highway. The ideal distance can depend on various factors, including individual health considerations, local geography, and specific highway characteristics. However, research has shown that certain pollutants from car emissions can decrease significantly with distance and generally drop to background levels within 1000-1600 feet from a busy roadway.

Suppose you wish to find out your personal ‘safe distance.’ Then, consider your sensitivity to noise and lifestyle preferences. Also, investigate local conditions, such as wind patterns and topography, that will affect the pollutants’ dispersion. Before buying a house near a highway, consult with health professionals or environmental experts (such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help you make a more informed decision!
Regarding regulations, there are not generally ordered distances for residential buildings on highways. Still, local governments and developers have created buffer zones and guidelines for new residential and commercial real estate. Checking local zoning laws and environmental studies is always a good idea.

How to sell a house near a highway

for rent for sale house concept

Now that you have a complete understanding of why some people might or might not prefer to live near a highway, there comes a time when you might want to sell a home near a highway. Even though selling a home near a highway doesn’t differ from selling a home in any other area, closing the deal is more challenging in the first case. If you have a family with children, you can assume that they would like a home in a quiet neighborhood, and most certainly not near a busy road.

Find your potential buyers and ask your price accordingly!

For most buyers, just the fact that they have to put up with the beeps and the vrooms from the nearby highway is just enough to turn them away. It is hard to find someone who doesn’t care about the street noise, and this factor certainly affects the home value of your property. It’s hard to say by how much because properties are valued differently around the country. However, it is more important to price your home correctly from the very beginning so you don’t have to negotiate later on or through potential buyers before they even show up because of the price. 

To secure a sure sale, contact appraisers and agents!

In order to get a good price, you need a good appraiser. Also, keep in mind that finding a real estate agent is key for a successful home transaction. Lawballing yourself is only one of the risks you’ll assume when working without a realtor. If you want to encourage the buyer to go for the purchase, you can start looking around for noise mitigation ideas for your home. Things such as trees, fences, walls, and even water features such as fountains can really help with noise mitigation. Note that this feature helps not only with noise pollution but with air pollution as well.

Tips and tricks of how to sell a house near a highway.

If homebuyers are worried about living too close to the highway, reassure them by emphasizing these features. Also, in any home selling process, the rules of preparing for the sale and doing everything by the book still apply, regardless of where your home is located. Some of these home-selling tips for closing quickly are common sense, yet very few people apply them. Prepare for the sale by improving your home’s curb appeal, freshening up the landscape, and taking care of the small details, like minor repairs or getting rid of bad smells.

Buying a house near a highway

street real estate agent giving the key

As a home buyer, you should be fully aware of what to expect when you decide to buy a home near a highway. You should know that there is a safe distance away from the highway to build your home as far as health safety is concerned. However, different factors come into play when it comes to living near a highway.

Properties next to a highway come with a package.

If you are looking to buy a home near a highway and noise concerns you, you should know that not all highways are created equal. Because of fast urbanization, in many areas, building homes near the highway was necessary even though it is already a known fact that there are health concerns that result from living near a highway. Some of them are related to air and noise pollution. In some areas where the phenomenon is more prevalent, local authorities took note and improved the road conditions in order to reduce noise pollution.

Learn about creative ways to combat air and noise pollution!

Some types of asphalt (ex. rubberized asphalt) are actually proven to reduce noise by 50 to 90 percent. Also, be aware of how the homes near the highway are built. A difference in elevation between the home and the highway is ideal for dispensing pollution. Also, if you want to buy a home near a highway, look for homes with trees, fences, walls, or other backyard features or updates that would really help disperse noise and air pollution.Buying a home near a highway is similar to buying a home near an airport because you have similar benefits and disadvantages. But, now that you have the knowledge you can make informed decisions about your next home purchase near a highway and fulfill your dream of homeownership.

What is the property value near a highway?

houses value

In terms of home value, it is good to live near the highway but not too close. This is to say that the precise location of the home near the highway can make a tremendous difference in terms of your home value. In some situations, property value increases the closer you are to a highway. You might wonder how is that possible. 

The closer you are, the more noise pollution, smog, and traffic you have to endure. However, if a parcel of land has poor accessibility and in due time a highway is built, it is intuitive that the price is going to go up because you are going from a property with limited access to immediate proximity to modern transit.

How does adjacent highway development influence your home’s worth?

Let’s say that your home didn’t have a highway near it when you built or purchased it. With the construction of a busy highway nearby, does your property value go down? In this case, it might depend on different factors such as noise, emissions, vibrations, proximity, and so on. You definitely don’t want to live in a house where there is constant noise from the road and dangerous levels of particle emission.

On the other hand, there was a noticeable difference in how property value varies based on home type. This is another example of how highway development doesn’t affect all properties equally. Some areas with housing near the highway reported a negative effect on the value of single-family homes but a positive effect on multifamily residences. 

Nonetheless, one of the most important factors that negatively affect property value near the highway is the level of traffic. Regional traffic growth impacts property value near the highway more than its presence. Be on the lookout for traffic growth tendencies especially if you live near the highway, since this might significantly affect the quality of life and ultimately the property value.

Conclusion

Highways either bring a large amount of development and improvement to developing real estate, or they can severely damage them. For this reason, it’s important to research the placement of your home before you buy or sell it. Whether it’s extremely close or relatively far away, a highway impacts the surrounding area drastically, so be sure to prepare yourself for all the possibilities!

Regardless of what you might think about living near the highway, it is a great place to buy a home, especially now that you know exactly what to look out for. Also if you find this article helpful don’t hesitate to share it with your friends on your social media platforms and let us know in the comments below what you think are the pros and cons of living near a highway.

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2 Responses to " The Pros and Cons of Living Near a Highway "

  1. Grrg Summers says:

    Hi Teresa. Enjoyed your article regarding property values affected by highway/turnpike construction. I was wondering if your information is related to a published document(s) or is a product of your own research. I live adjacent to a proposed turnpike extension and am looking for hard data regarding this issue. Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated.

    • Theresa Hus says:

      Hi Greg. Im glad you enjoyed my article. I wrote the blog based on my own research 2 years ago. Im sure its now a bit outdated. I will try to update this blog and email you once im done.

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