Real estate, they say, is all about location, location, location, and that is in a certain way backed up by a recent study commissioned by CEOs for Cities. It's a nationwide cross-sector group of urban movers and shakers from academic, business, civic and philanthropic fields committed to building and sustaining the next generation of strong American cities. They if anyone ought to have a finger on the pulse on this topic.
"Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities" is the report's title, prepared by Joseph Cortright from Impresa, a Portland consulting operation. Basically what was measured was how the proximity of homes to services like shopping, schools, libraries, restaurants, parks - even mortgage and real estate offices someone would throw in - affects values. To get this thing done researchers looked at 94,000 home sales in 15 different markets with the data supplied by ZipRealty. It discovered that in 13 of them residences within walking distance of general services clearly benefited from higher prices.
These neighborhoods are called walkable. No car needed to get around comfortably. The study generated a scoring system, named aptly Walk Score, from 100 to 0, the 100 indicating the highest score. Anything above 70 means that car use is not necessary in the area. According to Walk Score the gain per home in the top tier could be from $4,000 to as high as $34,000, depending of course on the particular housing market. That should make any future home buyer take careful note.
Las Vegas valley, including Henderson, Green Valley, Summerlin and Seven Hills, surprisingly, was one of the two real estate markets that showed a different result. Sin City has its share of nice neighborhoods that do have above average walkability scores and therefore ought to display decent premiums. But that failed to materialize in this study.
The on-going mortgage and real estate challenges in Las Vegas have brought on once-in-a- lifetime price erosion in the last few years that is probably skewing the study's results. It's hard to talk about gains right now when everything generally is on a down slope, regardless of the neighborhood. Still, for home buyers in Southern Nevada this is one bit of information they ought to keep in mind whenever they are heading out to look at property. Walkability.