Walkable Locations Step Up Value

A house within walking distance to transportation and shopping holds more value to both buyers and sellers, according to a newly released study.

Alexandria, VA street

Alexandria, VA's restored riverfront along the Potomac has a 64.5 walk score. Photo: Zach Rudisin / Wikipedia

Common sense dictates that homes in walkable neighborhoods, with easy access to public transit, would pull higher values than houses in areas only accessible via car. How much higher? According to a recent study conducted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the National Association of Realtors—41.6% higher.

Looking at a constellation of neighborhood characteristics, including easy proximity to light rail, easy walking access to neighborhood business districts, and smaller blocks, the study revealed higher values in the neighborhoods reported in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix and San Francisco.

Boston was the outlier; its ‘walkable’ neighborhoods delivered home values 129% greater than less convenient neighborhoods.  For the rest, the premium ranged from 30% in Chicago to 48% for Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Furthermore, brand-new housing in those walk-friendly neighborhoods won a price premium of 4.1% to 14.9%.

If you are considering buying, a house in a walkable neighborhood will cost more, but is likely to hold its value better. And, the study found that households in these neighborhoods had significantly lower monthly transportation costs.

If you are considering selling a house in a walkable neighborhood, be sure that marketing materials locate the house in relation to key destinations, including transit stations, business districts, and key bus stops. Also include the property’s Walk score, which adds independent validation of its convenient location.