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Home Price Premiums for Walkability

August 21, 2009

Sightline’s Daily Score featured an article this week entitled “Walkable Neighborhoods Are Worth More”, which summarizes the findings of recent studies on walkability and its relationship to home prices. CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders building and sustaining the next generation of great American cities, took it upon themselves to ask – does Walk Score mean anything for real estate values? And, the answer not surprisingly, was YES!

Seattle-based Walkscore.com uses Google Maps to calculate your home’s proximity to nearby amenities. The closer a shop, restaurant, school, or park is to where you live, the more points your home or neighborhood gets. Walk Score is now being used by home buyers, renters and real estate agents alike to find homes in the most walkable neighborhoods across the nation.

According to this new report, “Walking the Walk”, people value walkable neighborhoods so much that each additional Walk Score point adds somewhere between $500 and $3,000 to the value of a home. In Seattle, a point of walkability adds about $1,400 to home values.

CEOs for Cities looked at data for more than 90,000 recent home sales in 15 different markets around the nation. Their 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).

This study confirms the very real and measurable demand for homes in walkable neighborhoods. A fact that is reflected in the current home prices of Seattle’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods. But, it also reminds us that continuing to improve walkability is an essential task for the sustainability of our nation’s cities.

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