How Will the Purple Line Affect the Maryland Housing Market?

maryland housing market

The Purple Line is currently on hold while environmental impacts are further analyzed; however, the community organization Greater Greater Washington (GGW) recently raised questions about how the line will affect the Maryland housing market and especially those who live in communities along the rail line when the project is completed.

What is the Purple Line?

The Purple Line is a proposed light rail system that will run 16 miles between two Maryland cities, Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George County. It will include 21 stations, and will connect users with three Metro lines, Amtrak stations, and hundreds of bus routes.

The system was expected to be completed by 2022, prior to the recent freeze, and by 2030, it’s anticipated that it will transport close to 70,000 commuters daily.

How will the line impact the Maryland housing market and residents?

Traditionally when communities become more accessible due to new transportation systems like the Purple Line, property values go up. That can be great for some homeowners, but for lower-income residents who need affordable housing, it could mean displacement, according to GGW. The organization is recommending that housing policies be proactively adopted prior to the line’s completion to prevent this from happening.

What are some solutions?

GGW is calling for several types of policies to proactively address the impact of the Purple Line on lower-income residents who live near the line. These include:

  • More Housing – When more homes are available, it is harder for competition to drive up prices. In order for more units to be added, zoning policies may need to be changed to allow for more high-density housing in areas close to the rail line.
  • A Housing Trust Fund – A fund like this could be used in areas like Langley Park, a community along the Purple Line with a large low-income population, to develop land with affordable housing options, as well as to rehab existing housing in disrepair.
  • Inclusionary Zoning Requirements – Washington D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland, already have these requirements, which ensure that new housing developments set aside a certain percentage of housing units for those who are at or fall below the area median income level.


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