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Walkable Areas Fetch Higher Home Prices

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

More home shoppers say they want to live where there is walkable space, and they’re willing to pay extra for it.

A new study by the Brookings Institution found that the more walkable an area is, the higher the real estate values and rents are there.

Researchers used Washington, D.C., for testing the walkability impact on home values. They found that “every step up the walkability ladder, the price per square foot jumps more than $300 on average for apartment rents, versus $82 for house values, $9 for annual office rents, and $7 for retail rents. Moreover, with each step up the ladder, the average household income climbs $10,000.”

Areas near other walkable areas, which then form an entire walkable district, had higher rents and home values than stand-alone walkable places, according to the study.

“While U.S. home values dropped steadily between 2008 and 2011, distant suburbs experienced the starkest price decreases while more close-in neighborhoods either held steady or in some cases saw price increases,” researchers note in the study. “This distinction in housing proximity is particularly important since it appears that the United States may be at the beginning of a structural real estate market shift. Emerging evidence points to a preference for mixed-use, compact, amenity-rich, transit-accessible neighborhoods or walkable places.”

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