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Walkability Shown to Improve Home Values

A new study shows that walkable neighborhoods with nearby amenities, from retail to parks, have higher home values. The study (pdf) was conducted by CEOs for Cities and reports that:

After controlling for all of these other factors that are known to influence housing value, our study showed a positive correlation between walkability and housing prices in 13 of the 15 housing markets we studied. In the typical market, an additional one point increase in Walk Score was associated with between a $500 and $3,000 increase in home values.

These results show that consumers and housing markets attach a positive value to living within easy walking distance of shopping, services, schools and parks. The property value premium for walkability seems to be higher in more populous urban areas and those with extensive transit, suggesting that the value gains associated with walkability are greatest when people have real alternatives to living without an automobile.

The study looked at data for more than 90,000 recent home sales in 15 different markets around the nation. The statistical approach controlled for key characteristics of individual housing units (their size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age and other factors), as well as for the neighborhoods in which they were located (including the neighborhood’s income level, proximity to the urban center and relative accessibility to employment opportunities).

Joe Cortright, author of the study, provides some common sense implications for cities:

Neighborhood walkability is the product of both public and private decisions. The public sector dictates the land use framework, regulating the location and composition of commercial land uses and the types and density of housing units. The public sector is also responsible for streets and sidewalks and choosing the number, size and location of important destinations (i.e., schools and parks). If we’re looking to shore up value in local housing markets, it appears that promoting more walkable neighborhoods is one way to do so.

Research has also shown that buyers are willing to pay a premium on properties within short distance of parks, independent of other factors. We featured one tool cities can use to determine where to locate walkable parks.

One notable area of concentration: cities looking to create certain walkable districts within their cities, be it around new transit stations or redeveloped commercial corridors can consider the proximity of parks to those concentrated areas of development and walkability. It can be one more factor in making the efforts successful. One shining example – Portland’s Jamison Square (seen below), a boon to the city’s recently developed Pearl District.

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