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Finding a Home Away from the Rush Hour Traffic

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RALEIGH — Growth in the Triangle has moved outward, causing increased traffic on some roads; now, some say growth is moving inward again, also because of traffic.

If you drive to Research Triangle Park every day, you live with the traffic.

But more and more people are unwilling to put up with the crushing rush hour commute.

Increasing numbers of commuters are looking for homes closer to work, or closer to secondary roads, which allow them to avoid Interstate 40. Real estate agents say the key is finding the perfect balance.

Unlocking the door to your dream home is not as simple as it used to be.

Paul Melgaard is moving to the Triangle from Chicago. He will be working in Sanford and wants to be close to Raleigh, but he does not want to spend all of his time on the road. So, he is looking in Cary.

"The commute is a big factor. I have two small children, and I want to spend as much time as possible with the kids," said Melgaard.

"Traffic is the one thing everyone asks us about," said Prudential real estate agent Sally Creech.

Creech has been selling homes in the Triangle for more than 20 years, and she has seen a lot of changes.

She says traffic equals growth and growth equals a booming real estate market.

"One time I came back into the office and said something ugly about the traffic, and someone said there is a commission in every one of those cars," said Creech.

Melgaard says compared to where he is coming from, Triangle traffic is not that bad.

"I'm coming from Chicago. My commute was 15 miles, and it took me 45 minutes to an hour on a jam-packed, five-lane highway. The traffic here is not really that much of a concern," Melgaard said.

Creech says each person has different needs depending upon their commute.

She suggests that before her clients buy a home, they do a practice run from the home to the office during peak traffic hours to see just how long it will take. Then, they'll have all the information they needbeforethey buy.