To find out, using data compiled by the appraisal company Miller Samuel, we mapped recent median sales prices for single-family homes in suburban areas along Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven line. We started just beyond Stamford, Conn., the first express stop in the state (and one of the urban areas omitted from our calculus), and divided the dollar amount of a median-price home near each station by the time it took to get there from Grand Central Station, to arrive at a cost-per-minute figure.
Not surprisingly, homes with longer commutes generally cost less. And the difference in prices — which varied by neighborhood, but averaged $11,836 a minute from Grand Central Station for median-price homes — was dramatic.
Is a minute saved really worth that much? Those in Darien, Conn., nearly an hour into the commute, may think so. A median-price home there costs $22,881 per minute spent on the train, while 15 minutes farther, in Westport, the cost is $17,493, or $5,388 less per minute. Travel another 11 minutes to Fairfield, and home buyers pay $15,705 less per minute than those in Darien.
Beyond Fairfield — at roughly the 90-minute mark — prices drop precipitously. So while some commuters seem willing to spend money to save time, the numbers suggest that more than an hour and a half on the train may be too much for most people to bear.