MetroABQ Blog

Walkable Neighborhoods Desirable For Buyers

Study Finds home prices lifted by proximity to amenities.

Homes located within walking distance to amenities such as parks, schools and shopping arent only more convenient for their owners, but often they are worth more than homes where driving is the rule according to a new study released in 2009.

The report looked at 94,000 real estate transactions in 15 markets. In the vast majority of those, higher levels of walkability were directly linked to higher home values. The report, Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Prices in US Cities, was commissioned by a national network of urban leaders from civic, business, academic and philanthropic sectors, called CEOs for Cities.

“Its an important point for those homebuyers who are trying to identify which homes will hold their value and what might be a good rental investment,” said Joseph Cortright, the reports author and a senior policy adviser for the group. “Walkable places have some of the best chances for performing well in the years ahead,” he said.

The analysis used transaction data and calculated the walkability of the homes using the Walk Scorealgorithm, which grades addresses based on amenities that are nearby, from restaurants and coffee shopes to parks and libraries. Scores range from o to 100 with 100 being the most walkable; a score higher than 70 indicates that its possible to get around in the area without using a car.

Controlling for other factors including a homes size, the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, age, neighborhood income levels, distance from the Central Business District and access to jobs, the study found that a one-point increase in Walk Score is linked to an increase in home value between $500 and $3000 depending on the market.

The premium for homes in neighborhoods with above-average Walk Scores ranged from $4000 to $34000 above homes with lower Walk Scores.

In areas where walkability does statistically matter, the higher value it affords isnt the same from place to place. Dense urban areas such as Chicago and San Francisco showed higher price gains based on higher Walk Scores; in less dense markets like Tuscan and Fresno, homes prices didnt jumps as much because of the higher walkability. While convenience does play a role in the desirability of walkable neighborhoods, consumers still havent forgotten days of $4 a gallon gasand it is influencing where they want to buy.

When people are looking to buy a house now, they know in the back of their mind the risk that gas prices can be higher than they are right now. It’s not about people having to live without cars, the report concludes, rather, it’s about giving people the option to use them less often. People don’t need a car for every trip. For those living in higher Walk Score areas, when they do needs to use a car, they don’t have to drive as far.

Nob Hill, the UNM/CNM area, Huning Highlands, Old Town and Downtown all have the highest walk-scores in the city.

Download attachments