BluefoxToday blog : Home buyers beware, walkable neighborhoods command higher prices

Home buyers beware, walkable neighborhoods command higher prices

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 ValleyModern kitchen, 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.


Provided by: 

Esko Kiuru
Mortgage, real estate and apartment industry analyst - syndicated mortgage, housing and property management blog
My cell: 702-499-1006

Comment balloon 10 commentsEsko Kiuru • August 24 2009 06:11PM


OK since this collaborative blog thing isn't working I need to reblog, lol!  I think someday we will have major variations in price when this market "normalizes".  Whenever that may be!  We live within walking distance to two major hospitals and I always told my kids :jokingly: if they need to go to the hospital, they need to walk, don't call an ambulance!

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 10 years ago

The walk score may be a great idea, however I do not know whether the reported data reflects cause-and-effect or merely a correlation.  What will be more interesting to me is whether a high walk score eventually translates to higher appreciation (in which case correlation is just fine).  I'm not ready to write it off, but I'm not ready to buy it hook-line-and-sinker either.

Posted by Robert T. Boyer, San Diego Real Estate & Mortgage Loans, Ph.D. | VA Home Loan (FHA Loan, VA Loan, Jumbo Loan,FHA Loans,VA Loans,Jumbo Loans) over 10 years ago

We can walk to a fire station but I'll trade that for a Starbucks, although I doubt it would raise our property value anyway. :) Kate

Posted by Kate Kate over 10 years ago


Give your kids a break. When the market stabilizes and a new study is made, then we'll see if Vegas has any traction or not on it.

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 10 years ago


Based on Walk Scores criteria a score over 70 translated into a decent appreciation.  

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 10 years ago


Walk Score probably likes Starbucks much better than a fire station, though.

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 10 years ago

Esko, I find that young professionals are asking more and more about properties in the downtown area.  They love the idea of being able to walk to restaurants, shops, and entrainment spots.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 10 years ago


That is a great trend. The old-fashioned suburbs might become a thing of the past.

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 10 years ago

Hi Esko - I have on my website for potential buyers to use - many of my sales are to people from other states, some have never even been here until their first tour of Mesquite with me.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 10 years ago


Thanx, need to check it out. 10 seconds later, I just did. Impressive.

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 10 years ago