What's Your Home's "Walkability" Score?

Real Estate Agent with Baird & Warner Real Estate

Walking in TownIt's been drilled into our heads:  LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.  A desirable location can add real value while living on a busy street, across from commercial buildings or noisy areas can greatly decrease the value of your home.  But here's an interesting concept I came across:  your "Walkability" score, or your home's proximity to desired amenities such as coffee houses, grocery shopping, cafes, schools, parks, libraries, etc.

A recent report, "Walking the Walk:  How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. Cities," was put together from transaction data from Zip Realty and scored on the basis of your home's nearby amenities.  The score ranges from 0 to 100 with 100 having the best score and anything over 70 indicating that it's possible to get around without a car. 

The study was commissioned by CEO for Cities, a national group of civic leaders, businessmen, academics, and philanthropists.The report looked at 94,000 transactions in 15 cities, and found that in 13 of them, values increased in relation to their Walkability score.  They found that a 1 point increase in score could lead to an increased home value of between $500 and $3000 while a better-than-average score could result in much larger increases.

The study showed one neighborhood, Ashley Park,  North Carolina with a Walkability score of 54 having an average house price of $280,000 while nearby Wilmore, with a Walkability score of 71 had an average house price of $314,000.

On the North Shore, buyers often look for "walk-to" locations, particularly commuters wanting to be near the Metra stations.  Clients who have bought near downtown Winnetka or Wilmette often tell me they love being able to walk into town for coffee, shopping or errands. 

For my own home, I received a score of 66, or "somewhat walkable."  Here are some other local statistics:

WINNETKA  Walkability

Average score:  58

Highest score:  77


Average score:  68

Highest score:  92


Average score:  49

Highest score:  92


Average score:  40

Highest score:  92


This theory of "Walkability" does not necessarily add another value factor, rather, it expands the location category and bestows more importance on it.  Home buyers might want to consider more heavily in favor of nearby attractions - not just for the convenience factor, but also in terms of value.

Of course, there are other added benefits of keeping the car securely parked in the garage.  Residents of cities with higher Walkability scores weighed an average of seven pounds less than residents of cities that ranked lower and had better transportation systems.  More difficult to calculate is the effect of reduced fuel emissions and global warming.

You can check our your address and it's Walkability Score at Walk Score.

Posted by

Margaret Goss - Winnetka and North Shore Real Estate Broker
Specializing in homes for sale in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook, and Evanston.

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Holly Weatherwax
Associate Broker, Momentum Realty - Reston, VA
A Great Real Estate Experience

Love that tool! Although we bought our house because of it's 'walkability' and it got a dismal score. For some reason, it did not consider the grocery store that is a couple of miles up the street 'walkable'--even though I walked there today!

Nov 29, 2009 08:56 AM #1
Robert McArtor
RE/MAX Components - Fallston Maryland - Bel Air, MD
Top Listing Agent for Baltimore and Harford County

Great! my score was 9... I guess this locks out the buyers looking for beautiful homes in rural areas.

Nov 29, 2009 09:50 AM #2
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Holly - I love to walk, but most people would consider a mile a long way to walk for groceries!

Robert - I almost prefaced the post with "If you want to live down a quiet country lane with no neighbors nearby, don't read this post."  Not everyone wants to be in the thick of things!

Nov 29, 2009 10:40 AM #3
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Never heard of this term before when it comes to houses. . thanks for sharing it

Dec 03, 2009 09:55 PM #4
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Margaret Goss

Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
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