Author Topic: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?  (Read 13421 times)

Lifeblood

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Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« on: July 22, 2015, 05:54:00 PM »
I am thinking of buying a cute little craftsman house that is within walking and biking distance of everything. It is about 1 block from the interstate, and the noise in the front yard is very prominent, though less so in the backyard. This house will allow my family (me, wife, 2 young kids) to live very mustachian. My question: will we get used to the interstate roar?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2015, 05:58:54 PM »
Can you get an actual measure of decibels in the home itself? Studies have shown a lot of traffic noise causes some major health concerns with blood pressure and so on. I would also think that resale would be affected, certainly the time-frame of reselling.

Interested in more experienced folks jumping in, I can only weigh in from the health impacts aspect. (Although perhaps offset by additional walking and time with family?)

justajane

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2015, 06:19:36 PM »
I grew up in a home that backed up to an interstate. I never noticed it. After I moved out and came home to visit, I did notice it more, but after a while you really do start to tune it out. I'm sure if my parents had invested in better windows the noise wouldn't have been so bad. Our windows really were crap. Are there possible ways that you could minimize the roar? Is the house priced lower because of this, so that you can eventually invest in high quality windows?

Lifeblood

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2015, 06:29:41 PM »
With the windows closed, there is actually very little noise inside the house. There is no AC, though, so in the summer I would want the windows opened and there would naturally be more sound.

Bearded Man

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2015, 06:41:26 PM »
Hey there neighbor. Where abouts in WA is this at? Is there a sound wall? Most people don't mind the constant hum of traffic. It's the stop and go like I have in a house I used to live in but now rent out. I moved after 2.5 years, but in retrospect, after having lived in other houses since then, and having recently visited the house to lease it to a new tenant and finding that I didn't really notice it inside unless I listened for it, I'm actually considering moving back into it.

If you have the money to move if it doesn't work out, then I would try it. Worst case scenario you turn it into a rental. Otherwise, you have to own the house for 2 years before it closes to avoid capital gains taxes. If it doesn't work out, you can list it early and stipulate in the contract that the closing date falls a day after the 2 years (I like to leave wiggle room so there is no debate with the IRS). Let us know!


deborah

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2015, 06:49:02 PM »
It has been shown that people are happier in less noisy environments (see, for example, the latest ABS HILDA study). However, there are plenty of mitigation strategies - sound walls, a thicket of trees... Generally these are better if the prevailing wind (for cooling on summer nights) doesn't come from the same direction.

Eggman111

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2015, 07:09:43 PM »
Back in the day I read a study that showed that houses near busy highways don't actually have lower values directly, but they do turn over more frequently than others. I don't remember the link, though.

Personally, I think it's more important what type of street the house itself is on or backs onto.

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okobrien

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2015, 08:25:45 AM »
I grew up in a house a mile from a highway to the east and half mile from another to the north.  The noise never bothered me and in reality I almost never even noticed it. I do, however, have lifelong asthma which is likely related...

James

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2015, 08:47:41 AM »
You are right to be concerned about the noise and consider it a negative. That doesn't mean it outweighs other concerns or benefits of the location, just that it's a fair factor to judge negatively.


I purchased a house in the country right on a river, beautiful spot. But about 1/4 mile down the river was the freeway. The noise seemed to echo up the river, and the traffic was louder on the bridge (made a bit of a roar sound due to the different pavement). It was barely noticeable in the house, though I could hear it faintly at night when in bed. You definitely get used to the noise, and stop hearing it in normal life. I tended to notice it more when people would come by and glance toward the freeway a lot, it made me a little self conscious about the noise. I also noticed it more because we were in the country and everyone expected "quiet". Expectations have a lot to do with perceptions.


I also grew up next to a railroad track and slept right through the trains coming through at night blaring their horns...


So you need to spend some time there and consider all the aspects. Get a reading on decibel if you think it is loud enough to be a concern, but I assume that isn't the case based on your description. Consider how it affect YOU and YOUR FAMILY, that is what counts. It doesn't matter if others can get used to it if you can't. And it doesn't matter if others hate the noise if it doesn't bother you. And obviously you won't totally know that ahead of time, but do your best to talk it through, spend some time there, and don't force yourself in either direction.


For me personally I would absolutely consider the house as a nice place to be for a while, and a much better compromise than being away from the things I want to be close to. But I don't know that I would be happy in a house with that much highway noise the rest of my life. If it works out perfectly otherwise and other houses have much worse compromises or cost, and if you felt you were getting a fair "discount" due to the highway noise, then I wouldn't have any problem with the house.

CashFlowDiaries

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2015, 10:10:54 AM »
You will definitely eventually weed out the noise. I live in a house which is sort of near the airport and when I first moved here, all i heard was airplanes every night trying to get to sleep.  Now I dont hear them!  And they are still there! 

If the price is right and the location is desirable then I would go for it. 

KCM5

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2015, 10:21:36 AM »
Second the concern about air quality. Interstates specifically are associated with low birth weights and higher incidences of asthma - but if you're more than a quarter mile away the association is gone.  They hypothesize it has something to do with the type of traffic/speed found on interstates (large diesel trucks, specifically) that are not found on other high capacity roadways.

MissStache

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2015, 10:26:22 AM »
Do you have enough of a front yard to build a natural barrier, with bushes and/or trees?  It would give you more privacy and would seriously dampen the noise.  You can also look at replacing the windows and/or doors with heavier ones, though that wont' be cheap. 

I dated a guy in college who lived next to the train tracks, like feet away.  The first few times I spent the night it woke me up every time it went by.  A few weeks in, I never even noticed. 

expectopatronum

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2015, 10:30:28 AM »
I also grew up next to a railroad track and slept right through the trains coming through at night blaring their horns...

Our house is near the train tracks, and we hardly notice it. I've been living near a train in some way for 7 years now. When we had a showing and it was remarked as "too close", we thought it was funny. (Plus, the houses between us and the train tracks actually provided a lot of dampening.)

zephyr911

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2015, 10:49:09 AM »
I learned to sleep through jet fighters taking off at full afterburner, and outgoing artillery literally shaking my trailer, my last time in Iraq, but you couldn't pay me enough to live that way again xD

I'd keep your primary focus here on personal values. If you plan on staying a long time and saving $$$ as a result, and you're sure you'll be happy, don't sweat the resale. Be prepared to accept slightly less for a quick sale if it's close enough to bother other people.

teadirt

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2015, 11:20:46 AM »
I wonder how fast the effects posters above me describe (health, happiness) drop off the farther you get from noisy traffic. Personally, I think the drop off happens pretty quickly. For example, my front door is about 20 feet away from a 4-lane street which has heavy traffic. We live in a place where many people think it is 'cool' to make their engines as loud as possible, and to floor it from a stop (we live on the corner). When I am at home the noise still bothers me after 7 months of living in this apartment. However, at the neighbor's house a block away, you can hardly hear the street from their yard, and inside the house it is basically quiet.

From my perspective, living a whole block from the road would make a hell of a difference! Especially since I live on a corner, and the loudest noise is usually when people floor it when turning. If it's just the hum of moving traffic, I think your brain would most likely tune it out. it's the slamming the gas from a stop that really bothers me. (I wonder, do people who live next to the ocean experience the same negative effects described by the studies others are talking about?)

On the "upside", if you could call it that, I never have to set my alarm because the morning commuters wake me up every morning. And in case you're wondering, I'm looking to move to a new place sometime soon.

I don't know how you could do this without buying the house first, but if you could spend a few days in the place and see how you feel about the noise, that's what I would do.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 11:23:09 AM by teadirt »

Gone Fishing

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2015, 01:25:58 PM »
Does sleeping in a hotel facing the interstate bother you now? 

I lived four years in a house a solid mile from the train tracks with lots of buffer in between.  The train would regularly wake my wife and me up. We would routinely roll over, look at each other and in a groggy voice say, "Fucking train" then try to go back to sleep. 

Another thing to consider near a major road is the grade.  If there is a hill involved, vehicles will be gunning it up in one direction and engine braking down it in the other. This increases both noise and pollution.  Also see if the traffic gets bad enough to cause people to use their horns a lot. 

Does your town ever host a bike week?

When and if you make an offer, be sure to cite the proximity to the road as a detractor.       

zoltani

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2015, 01:34:22 PM »
I used to live in Eastlake right next to I-5. We could certainly hear the noise in our apartment, more so when the windows were open during the summer. We got used to it and didn't even really notice it. I got so used to it that when I visited family in a quiet house I couldn't sleep! That said, I moved away from that place and realized that while I did not notice or mind the noise we could never just sit in "silence".

That was a rental though, and I think I would consider the long term viability more if I were buying.

justajane

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2015, 03:44:02 PM »
I got so used to it that when I visited family in a quiet house I couldn't sleep! That said, I moved away from that place and realized that while I did not notice or mind the noise we could never just sit in "silence".

Yeah, at some point you can look at it as a permanent noise maker that doesn't break or cost electricity to run. What is it with noise makers anyway? They always seem to break on us. We rely on them for our kids.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2015, 05:51:11 PM »
This will be a  major disadvantage when you sell. People will prefer a house which is not as good as yours, but which is not close to the interstate.

I would buy this if it provides me some major advantage. For example, my town has a top rated school district and houses are very expensive. A train line runs thru the town and if I could not afford the expensive house (I bought before the prices went  thru the roof),
I would buy a house close to the train line at a substantial discount. This way, my kids would get the great school and I would not be bankrupted by the price of the house.

BTW, I grew up in Bombay, right under the flight path of the international airport. You quickly get used to the noise and you do not even notice it after some time.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 05:53:28 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2015, 07:21:20 PM »
I live near a train too and it stopped bothering me the second night in the house. But now I hate highway noise. Do consider the health effects of the noise and pollution, though.

sokoloff

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2015, 02:36:54 PM »
We front directly on a four lane (two each direction) parkway and the traffic noise is noticeable in the yard and moreso when it's wet. Nevertheless, it's almost inaudible inside (structural brick house, double pane windows) and we love the house.

An interstate a block away I'd imagine would be quieter than that, so if you tour the house during a time when the traffic is moderate and moving and it doesn't bother you, you shouldn't worry about the traffic noise. If there is noise but only single-pane windows, you probably want to upgrade to double-pane windows anyway...

Bearded Man

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2015, 08:26:18 AM »
Spray in insulation, and an AC unit will help. AC costs about 6K installed.

I bought my first house on a slightly busy street and turned it into a rental after a few years, so that's an option available to you if you can afford to move to another place with this as a rental later on. Also, I'm considering moving back into said house eventually, and will have spray in insulation and AC put in to cut down on what little noise there is inside. I will also be rearranging the rooms so that I spend most of my time in the back of the house where even as is with the windows open, I hear nothing.

Point is, you can mitigate this while living there, and always turn it into a rental if you want to move on.

Sibley

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2015, 12:13:11 PM »
I live near a freight train line. The noise bothered me a lot at first, but now it's really only if I'm watching something on tv/dvd and the windows are open. Then I have to turn it up, then down again.

Do consider the health effects. I have minor asthma that is now major asthma, and it's possible the trains are part of that. Or the woods. Really not sure which.

Bearded Man

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2015, 02:44:35 PM »
I am thinking of buying a cute little craftsman house that is within walking and biking distance of everything. It is about 1 block from the interstate, and the noise in the front yard is very prominent, though less so in the backyard. This house will allow my family (me, wife, 2 young kids) to live very mustachian. My question: will we get used to the interstate roar?

Well, OP, did you buy it?

Goldielocks

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2015, 07:38:22 PM »
Posting to follow.

WRT noise:

I live near an active river (fog horns), train tracks, Industrial site (across water) Elevated bridge / highway about 1.5 mi away, and used to live on a hill near bus route.

Trains (and usually planes) -- I actually like them, they come, then are gone.   Only a few trains per night.  Loud but easy to ignore.
River fog horns - seasonal, nostalgic, easy to live with.
Helicopter (working the logs on the river) - pretty easy to live with, only loud a couple times per day.
Elevated Bridge -- Does indeed bother me due to the constant "rush....rush... rush" sounds when I am working / eating in my backyard.
Bus -- yes, the sound of the buss gunning it up the hill to the bus stop is very annoying. -- wake you up in the morning from a block away annoying.
Industrial site - that damn forklift with BEEP BEEP BEEP at night drives me nuts in summer when windows are open.   It is an "alert! alert!" sound.

In all, I would buy a home with lots of noise if a rental..  and I would rent and live in that home.  But would not buy for ownership / living in / investment.

Bearded Man

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2015, 08:01:10 PM »
My first house is on a busy street, and is now a rental. It's not that busy of a street, it's not a main street and it's quiet outside of rush hour, which is usually 3-4 cars every few minutes. Outside of rush hour, it's pretty dead, and after 8/9PM it's really dead.

It was worst in the summer, but I learned how to make it better. White noise, such as a fan. I recently noticed when I was turning the unit, that when in the back room, even with all the windows in the house open, you don't hear anything. That back room has an exterior door and lot's of windows overlooking my huge back yard. If I ever moved back in, I would use that back room as my living room, the room I spend the most time in. Sometimes rearranging the rooms can make the house more live able. Also, consider the spray in insulation and triple pane windows.

Also keep in mind that even if you don't decide to keep living there, plenty of people are glad to rent there if you price it right.

AnEDO

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2015, 10:11:39 AM »
Living near freeways has been scientifically linked to cognitive impairments in young children and increases in autism.  A small sample of the studies:

The rate of progression of hardening of the arteries, the cause of strokes, heart attacks and generalized aging, is double for those living within 100 meters of a freeway.
Künzli N, Jerrett M, Garcia-Esteban R, Basagaña X, Beckermann B, et al. (2010) Ambient Air Pollution and the Progression of Atherosclerosis in Adults. PLoS ONE 5(2): e9096. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0009096

Children who live within 500 meters of a major highway are not only more likely to develop asthma and other respiratory diseases, but their lung development may also be stunted permanently.
Gauderman WJ, et al. “Effect of exposure to traffic on lung development from 10 to 18 years of age: a cohort study,” The Lancet, Volume 368, February 2007.

Living within 1,000 ft of a freeway doubles the risk of a child being born with autism.
Volk HE, Hertz-Picciotto I, Delwiche L, Lurmann F, McConnell R. Residential proximity to freeways and autism in the CHARGE study. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jun;119(6):873-7. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002835. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Children growing up with more traffic pollution have significantly lower IQs and impaired memory.
Suglia SF, et al. Association of Black Carbon with Cognition among Children in a Prospective Birth Cohort Study Am J Epidemiology 2008 167:280-286.

With young children myself, there is no way I would consider it.

JJNL

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2015, 10:43:58 AM »
If I were you, I would worry about air pollution, not the noise. Like the previous posters have said, there is a health risk in living close to a major road. That being said, a lot of downtown city streets in the Netherlands have poorer air quality than places right by the highway - it's got a lot to do with whether traffic is stationary or fast moving, and whether the pollution can be dispersed by the wind fast enough or not.

I've lived in the flight path of the busiest landing strip on Schiphol Airport and ceased to really notice incoming planes (unless they were flying WAY too low). Right now, I live about 500 metres from a major highway, and the noise is something you get used to very easily. A big highway usually makes constant noise, it's like living next to the sea, you stop hearing it. However, an ex-boyfriend of mine lived right next to a curve in the tram tracks, and those trams screeching through the curve occasionally is something I never did get used to. I think that had to do with the noise not being constant: a low drone / hum in the background is easier to 'unhear' than a high-pitched screech that only happens every so often.

Bearded Man

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2015, 12:53:06 PM »
If I were you, I would worry about air pollution, not the noise. Like the previous posters have said, there is a health risk in living close to a major road. That being said, a lot of downtown city streets in the Netherlands have poorer air quality than places right by the highway - it's got a lot to do with whether traffic is stationary or fast moving, and whether the pollution can be dispersed by the wind fast enough or not.

I've lived in the flight path of the busiest landing strip on Schiphol Airport and ceased to really notice incoming planes (unless they were flying WAY too low). Right now, I live about 500 metres from a major highway, and the noise is something you get used to very easily. A big highway usually makes constant noise, it's like living next to the sea, you stop hearing it. However, an ex-boyfriend of mine lived right next to a curve in the tram tracks, and those trams screeching through the curve occasionally is something I never did get used to. I think that had to do with the noise not being constant: a low drone / hum in the background is easier to 'unhear' than a high-pitched screech that only happens every so often.

My first house was on a semi busy street. The constant stop and start of traffic noise was tyring. I never got used to it, just learned to mask it with white noise that was constant. A freeway nearby is not that bad. A road where cars go down it too frequently but not frequently enough for it to be constant, sucks. Alas, I found that if I rearrange the rooms, with the rooms in the back of the house being where I spend the most time instead of the front, helps. I plan to do that if I ever move back in. Renters don't seem to mind the noise for the price.

Kroaler

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2015, 10:03:54 AM »
This is the view out my bedroom window, just for fun.    Its I 85.    I dont know if Ill stay here forever, maybe a rental one day, but Ive gotten used to the noise.    Just chiming in.   As a side note, this house cost about  50% of our yearly household income in foreclosure.   It doesnt bother me, I sleep like a baby. Sometimes I just sit on the back porch and watch cars go by for fun.....    BUT   



I probably wouldn't buy a house by the interstate again. Not bad for a starter home / maybe investment property, but I dont want to be here forever.    If nothing else, its kinda of embarrassing cause there seems to be a stigma about people who live by the interstate. I think everyone thinks I'm poor. . . . lol

Abe

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2015, 01:52:09 PM »
I live in a moderately expensive part of Chicago, and when we were buying, I found that houses within a block of the interstates sell for about 10-20% less than ones away from it, even though they may be closer to restaurants, etc.

We live near the elevated train line (as in 50 ft) and installed noise-reducing windows that are very effective.

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2015, 07:28:03 PM »
My ex gf's parents have a home that's only a couple hundred yards from an interstate, although behind one of those high sound walls. Beautiful neighborhood, but the freeway was built later. It's not bad at all because the sound is constant white noise and fairly faint.

One of my homes is on a fairly busy suburban perimeter parkway. Single lane each direction, lower speeds, but the swish-swish-swish is very annoying to me, especially in the winter when the combination of coarse pavement and winter tires and/or studs makes it even worse. Forget sleeping with the windows open in summer.  It is a newer home with good windows but the sound comes in. At least it's quiet at night, but starting 6:30am I can't sleep. I turned it into a rental.

My primary home is on a cul de sac in a wooded suburban neighborhood facing a forest greenbelt. Dead quiet. You can't hear anything except nature, even out on the decks. I love it and while it's currently rented while I'm overseas, that's the house I will live in when I get back. Environment is very important to our well being.

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Re: Buy a house with lots of interstate noise?
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2015, 03:35:40 AM »
I live in the city super close to a motorway on ramp. I actually like the noise it reminds me of living next to the sea with constant wave noise. I actually sleep like a rock since moving there.

My fiance's old place backed onto a train line (this was before auckland transport updated to electric trains like the rest of civilization so these were noisy ass diesel chug-a-chug trains), noticed the train noise the first time I stayed over and woke up when trains zoomed past at 3pm then it was a total non-issue.

TL DR : yeah you get used to the noise super quick.

Again I'll just add another voice to the concern regarding potential air pollution ... is there any organisation that actually monitors or records air pollution levels in your city, or any other way you can find out what the air quality is like. The air may be totally fine even with super duper close proximity if the wind blows the right way. So yeah worth looking into especially if the house is a winner in other respects.