“Consumers’ preference for walkability isn’t just a trend but a structural change in the way many Americans see the American Dream.” Jeff Speck, City Planner, Urban Designer & Author.“Yes, the big new trend in residential real estate is walkability.” Buying a Home? Consider its Walkability
Walkable communities are becoming the latest trend in real estate and REALTORS® need to be aware of how the demand for walkable communities impacts real estate and their business.
Homebuyers rely on REALTORS®’ knowledge of local markets and conditions to help them find a home in a neighborhood of choice. As the walkability trend continues, homebuyers will expect REALTORS® to know how walkable a community is and what are the most walkable communities in an area.
Walkable Communities in a Nutshell
A walkable community is where residents can walk, bike or take public transit (light rail, trolleys and/or buses) to grocery stores, shops, schools, work, cafes, markets, playgrounds and parks. Walkable communities have a mix of housing types as well as mixed-use buildings that combine residential, office, and retail. They can be high-rise urban neighborhoods, traditional downtowns and main streets, or suburban town centers.
What makes a community walkable?
- A center and public spaces: a main place for everyone to meet whether that be a main street or plaza as well as plenty of other public spaces for the community to gather.
- Mixed income, mixed use: a choice of all types of housing; retail on the ground level and residential on upper levels; a variety of buildings.
- Parks, trails and paths: plenty of open spaces to gather and play.
- Pedestrian design: buildings close to the street; parking lots to the back; safe lighting
- Shops, schools and workplaces: close enough that most residents can walk from their homes or transit.
- Complete streets: streets designed for all including bicyclists, pedestrians, cars and public transit; bike lanes; crosswalks.
- People: enough people for businesses to succeed and for public transit to run frequently.