Walkability Equals Saleability? Check Your Property's "Walk Score"!

Mortgage and Lending with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp Louisiana NMLS#2289 Equal Housing Lender NMLS 69996

A report released last Wednesday reports that the Big Apple is the "most walkable" city in the United States. In fact, many of its residents are able to forgo owning a car or can leave their cars behind when accessing neighborhood amenities such as grocery stores or coffee shops.

This is according to Walk Score, a website that assesses a location’s proximity to amenities including grocery stores, restaurants, schools and parks, grading the address’ walkability on a scale of one to 100.

On the
WalkScore.com site, you can plug in addresses to find nearby amenities and determine the length of their commutes, by car, bike or foot. Many of you may know that I live in a rural area on a farm - 15 miles from a loaf of bread! I typed in my address - it scored zero and said "car dependent"! AMEN to that! I typed in my office in Bossier City, Louisiana, and it said "Very Walkable" - a 72.  But I'm thinking getting across 4 lanes of  traffic on Airline Drive might be a little hairy!  Then I put in my office in Leesville, Louisiana, it scored "Somewhat Walkable" - a 68.  Of course, neither of these were residences - but I wanted to check it out!

So, my thinking is that this could possibly be a marketing tool for real-estate agents looking for a way to "sell" their property's walkability to prospective home buyers.  With volatile gas prices as they are, buyers may count the savings of a high walkability neighborhood in determining their purchase, and consider that h
aving shorter commutes will also cost them less.

“An American family living in a house that is accessible only by car is spending on average 25% of their income on cars,” said Christopher B. Leinberger, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, in the Walk Score news release. “Households in walkable communities spend less than half that amount, putting more money in their pockets.”

To calculate the most walkable cities in the country, researchers graded the 50 largest U.S. cities block by block; scores were weighted by population density. Following New York City, which had a Walk Score of 85.3, the other most walkable large cities are:


  • San Francisco, 84.9

  • Boston, 79.2

  • Chicago, 74.3

  • Philadelphia, 74.1

  • Seattle, 73.7

  • Washington, D.C., 73.2

  • Miami, 72.5

  • Minneapolis, 69.3

  • Oakland, 68.2


Matt Lerner, Walk Score’s chief technology officer said that many of the cities that made the top 10 list had some things in common. For one, they were cities that grew up before World War II, before it was common for people to own cars. And another, there’s a mixture of dense population and a variety of amenities to walk to.

It’s important to note that some neighborhoods in walkable cities are more accommodating to pedestrians than others, and even cities that rank low have walkable neighborhoods within them, Lerner said.

“Regardless of the location of a property, people still want to know where the closest grocery store is,” said Josh Herst, the company’s chief executive, and for many, “it matters a lot what their commute will be like.”

Check out your properties....what's the WALKABILITY score?  And do you think it matters?


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Louise G. Thaxton NMLS #69996, VA Home Loan Expert

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Phone: 866-960-9115  Email: lgthaxton@fairwaymc.com


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  1. Not a real person 09/18/2011 01:51 PM
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Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Louise - having lived so close to NYC and visiting it often, I'm not surprised it came in #1 as the most Walkability cities! It's so easy to get around and see so much all in one day. I also love San Fransisco and if you walked everywhere - you'd never have to hit the gym!

Sep 12, 2011 09:18 AM #1
Louise Thaxton NMLS 69996
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp Louisiana NMLS#2289 Equal Housing Lender - Leesville, LA
Military Mtg Specialist - 866-960-9115 VA FHA USDA

Kristine - I have walked in both cities also and you are so right - live there - no gym!  Thanks for your comments!

Sep 12, 2011 09:40 AM #2
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Personally I think the walk scores are wrong. To walk around San Francisco, you have to be about 22 and in the fittest shape of your life. There are just too many hills to climb.

As for New York City, I tried walking there, too. I'm lucky I'm still alive because those billions of taxis have no idea what a red light means.

Still love both cities, though!

Maybe I should create a web site called shouldiwalk.com. LOL

Sep 12, 2011 02:46 PM #3
Louise Thaxton NMLS 69996
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp Louisiana NMLS#2289 Equal Housing Lender - Leesville, LA
Military Mtg Specialist - 866-960-9115 VA FHA USDA

I love it, Russell!  I was actually thinking the same thing - that just a city is "walkable" - does it mean someone WILL walk?!?

Sep 12, 2011 02:52 PM #4
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What a fun post, I agree with Russel.  Still it is fun walking in NY and Sf (it is a great exercise), and it is what makes great cities such as Paris and Rome.  Recently Los Angeles has a walking area in its downtown as they cleaned that up.  You are forced to walk in SF and New York as parking rates are incredibly expensive. A

Sep 15, 2011 05:36 AM #5
EC, JF, Double R and Zoey the Cool Cat
Russel Ray Photos - San Diego, CA

I live in an area that has a walk score of 55. The only way I can figure that it is that low is because the person who walked the area to determine the score was from San Francisco or New York City. Definitely prejudiced. lol

Sep 16, 2011 04:35 PM #6
Sherri Berry
Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro - Murfreesboro, TN
Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate

What a change from our area!  I've never heard of a walkability or walking score!  Thanks for the interesting post!

Sep 18, 2011 01:56 PM #7
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