Are Walkable Homes Worth More? – Exploring The Walkability Craze

Property Manager with personal

In 21st century real estate, it’s all about “walkability, walkability, walkability.”

According to recent research published by Redfin, a one-point increase in a district’s Walk Score leads to a one percent increase in property value. Typically, that translates to ~$3,000 extra per point on your property’s value. To put it another way, properties in highly walkable areas usually sell for 23 percent more than places that require a car.

Interestingly, the Brookings Institution found a significant uptick in rental prices in more walkable districts. For instance, in Washington, DC, average monthly rents in walkable areas were at least $300 above average.

Although higher Walk Scores often add value to a home’s property, don’t expect a huge premium if you live in a car-centric city. Even if your property is in a district with a high Walk Score, you will only see substantial price increases if the entire city has strong walkability standards. 

As an example, Redfin found homes in San Francisco—sometimes considered America’s most walkable city—jumped $188,000 when the Walk Score improved from 60 to 80. On the opposite extreme, homes in car-centric Phoenix only experienced a $16,000 increase with the same Walk Score change.

Can High Walk Scores Hurt A Property’s Value?

 To date, there’s only one area in America where home prices dip as Walk Scores increase: Orange County, CA. The price people would pay for a luxury home in this area dropped by $500 when Walk Scores reached max levels.

Although Orange County is an outlier, it should serve as a reminder that high Walk Scores don’t always lead to premium prices. Property analysts still need to figure out what homebuyers in different cities are most interested in.  

The Road Ahead: Walkable Homes In The Future

It’s unlikely the walkability trend will decrease in future decades. As pedestrians and cyclists increase across the USA, city leaders will have to respond with enhanced safety measures and infrastructure. Plus, most millennials don’t seem to care about driving cars as much as boomers, which means they will be far more interested in a home’s walkability.  

To meet this increased demand and attract young talent, cities like Philadelphia and Chicago are actively building properties in highly walkable areas. Philadelphia has some more work to do as does Chicago. Most cities also have official Vision Zero safety programs to help eliminate traffic deaths. All of these measures should enhance Walk Scores across the USA and increase the supply of walkable homes.

Comments (5)

Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Prior to the pandemic I would've agreed with your post; now I have to Imagine that we're going to see a decrease in the urban areas demand where walk ability was the number one reason for buying there.  A potential mass exodus to the suburbs in the rural areas as a result of the shelter in place experience is likely... especially if we have a second wave this fall. Hope not, but we're seeing a lot of overreaction to this pandemic on the news. 

May 27, 2020 10:12 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Walk ability is an interesting concept and especially in the social distancing era. That might be a market.

May 27, 2020 11:15 PM
Joseph Doohan
Joseph Doohan - Las Vegas, NV
I offer business strategy advice for realtors

Thank you for taking the time to keep us posted and up to date. Wishing you a great day ahead! Take care.

May 28, 2020 01:02 AM
Realtyna Inc
Realtyna - Newark, DE
Realtyna- MLS RETS Integration software & services

Hi Leonard Raleigh, really good report on the link between walkability and home prices. Thanks for looking in to this.

May 28, 2020 02:41 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Leonard and thanks for the interesting blog.  Keep blogging more, you have alot to say!


Jun 01, 2020 09:35 AM