Monday, September 28, 2009

More Walkable Homes Are Worth More

Source: CEOs for Cities

Though housing values are still slow to rebound from the collapse of the real estate market, a new analysis from CEOs for Cities reveals that homes in more walkable neighborhoods are worth more than similar homes in less-walkable neighborhoods, pointing to a bright spot in the residential real estate market.

The report, “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities” by Joseph Cortright, analyzed data from 94,000 real estate transactions in 15 major markets provided by ZipRealty and found that in 13 of the 15 markets, higher levels of walkability, as measured by Walk Score, were directly linked to higher home values...

Walkability is defined by the Walk Score algorithm (, which works by calculating the closest amenities – restaurants, coffee shops, schools, parks, stores, libraries, etc. – to any U.S. address. The algorithm then assigns a “Walk Score” from 0-100, with 100 being the most walkable and 0 being totally car-dependent. Walk Scores of 70+ indicate neighborhoods where it’s possible to get by without a car.

By the Walk Score measure, walkability is a direct function of how many destinations are located within a short distance (generally between one-quarter mile and one mile of a home). The study found that in the typical metropolitan area, a one-point increase in Walk Score was associated with an increase in value ranging from $700 to $3,000 depending on the market. The gains were larger in denser, urban areas like Chicago and San Francisco and smaller in less dense markets like Tucson and Fresno.

+ Full Report (PDF)
I should note that I find the WALK SCORE measure deeply flawed, as it does not seem to take into account obstacles such as interstate highways. It may only be 1.3 miles from Corporate Woods to the Madison Theater in Albany, but one is not going to walk over I-90 to get there.

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