If you’ve heard the buzz lately about walkable communities and wondered what exactly that means, you’re not alone. Walkable communities are a growing trend in real estate for a number of reasons. Let’s explore what a walkable community is and where to find them in the Grand Strand.
Walkable Community Basics
A walkable community is a neighborhood (or even a town or city) where residents can easily and safely walk to parks, stores, pharmacies, restaurants and libraries (to name a few). Walkable communities often feature extra wide walkways and sidewalks, ample lighting for nighttime walking, plenty of benches for rest and other features to ensure pedestrian safety.
Why are Walkable Communities a Trend?
Walkable communities are increasing in popularity with both millennials and with older adults, however, the reasons can differ. For older adults, walkable communities allow them to retain a sense of freedom and mobility when it comes time to hang up the keys and give up driving. It can be much easier to make this life transition when getting places is easy and safe on foot. Millennials are drawn to walkable communities because driving less lowers their carbon footprint, and in some cases, allows them to forgo the expenses of owning, maintaining and insuring a vehicle altogether. And for both groups, there are the additional benefits of increased exercise, a stronger sense of community and a greater connection with neighbors and other community members.
For all the benefits of walkable communities, there are also trade-offs. Walkable communities tend to offer condominiums, apartments and townhomes as the primary housing options, rather than single family homes with yards. Housing in walkable communities is also smaller on average and slightly more expensive than housing in other types of neighborhoods. For these reasons, families with children are more likely to skip walkable communities and stick with neighborhoods in more suburban areas with a greater number of single family homes and options with yards for children to play in. Millennials (without children) and older adults are more likely to see the trade-offs as reasonable to live in a walkable community that meets their needs.
Walkable Communities and the Grand Strand: Spotlight on The Market Common
As a growing trend, you can expect to see more and more emphasis in the coming years on walkable communities. The Grand Strand is an area with a lot of new home construction and new community development in-progress and in planning stages. Currently, the best local example of a walkable community is The Market Common. With housing available directly in the shopping district and in neighborhoods surrounding it, the Market Common offers much of what you would find in a walkable community. The Market Common area features parks, restaurants, shops, fitness options, all different kinds of businesses, doctor and dentist offices and even a movie theater. Take a stroll through the area and you’ll quickly see why walkable communities are a growing trend.