Here is What They Discovered
Homes within walking distance of schools, parks and shopping were worth more than homes in neighborhoods where you need a car to do anything. Typically, the study revealed equity premium for homes with higher Walk Scores ranged from $4,000 to $34,000.
Not long ago all you had to do was buy a home and you would profit, now the easy money is gone. Investment value and future return have to part of the purchase decision. According to CEOs for Cities, Walkable places have some of the best chances of perfoming.
Here is How it Works
A mathematical algorithm was developed that measured the walkability of a home. It graded the home based on how close it was to shopping, schools etc and scored them from 0 to 100.
Allowing for other factors such as home size, bath and bedrooms etc, the study found that a one-point increase in the Walk Score is linked to an increase in home value between $500 and $3,000.
The premium isn't quite the same from place to place. It seems that urban densitiy showed higher price gains based on higher Walk Scores. In smaller cities, like Tuscon and , price sensitivity to the walk score wasnt as great.
It wasnt covered in the study, but my experience tells me that I can rent a home in the flats where you dont need a car to do anything faster and for more money than a comparable home in the hills. Home buyers need to consider the rentability factor as well. It compliments and confirms that being close to amentities is important to people and that they will pay more for the convenience.
Long Run Implications
Reshaping the Dream
We may be in a generational shift regarding how people will live and how we define place. People everywhere are returning to our cities because the suburb hasnt fulfilled us. Its a place of spatial separation. And it is short on amenities and long on fuel costs and commute time.
Suburban living is losing its shine. Its quite possible that placing a higher value on walkability is a reflection of the roll up of the suburb as we know it. The housing bubble encouraged unsustainable growth in places where land was cheap shaping a low-density sprawl of single family homes.
The higher value we now place on walkability reflects new priorities like saving energy, commuting less, better mass transit, conserving land and walking more. My money is on the city
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