A new report from CEOs for Cities, “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. Cities,” contends that more walkable neighborhoods increase home values. According to CEOs for Cities, data was analyzed “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.” CEOs for Cities adds: “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.”
Walk score’s algorithim calculates the distance to the closest amenities (restaurants, schools, parks, subway stations, etc) from any U.S. address. CEOs for Cities says the algorithim determines a “walk score” in the range of 0-100; 100 is the “most walkable,” while 0 means “totally car-dependent.” People can function in neighborhood without a car if the walk score is more than 70.
Carol Coletta, President and CEO of CEOs for Cities argues that redeveloping cities to make them more walkable will “not only enhance the local tax base but will also contribute to individual wealth by increasing the value of what is, for most people, their biggest asset.”
World Changing argues that the report has validity: “Remember, the researchers who did this analysis controlled for all sorts of variables that affect housing prices: the size and age of the home, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, neighborhood incomes, the distance from major job centers, and so forth. So their results don’t stem from some spurious correlation — e.g., that walkable neighborhoods tend to be worth more because they’re closer to downtown. Nope, this is the real deal: in just about every metro area they looked at, walkability adds value to property. (Las Vegas, NV and Bakersfield, CA were the two exceptions).”
Walk Score founder, Mike Mathieu, said: “‘Walking the Walk’ shows definitively what we’ve always believed – that homes in walkable neighborhoods continue to be a good investment, and are one of the simplest and most effective solutions to fight climate change, improve our health, and strengthen our communities. Our vision is for every property listing to include a Walk Score: Beds: 3 Baths: 2 Walk Score: 84.”