By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

More home shoppers say they want to live where there is walkable space, and they’re willing to pay extra for it.

A new study by the Brookings Institution found that the more walkable an area is, the higher the real estate values and rents are there.

Researchers used Washington, D.C., for testing the walkability impact on home values. They found that “every step up the walkability ladder, the price per square foot jumps more than $300 on average for apartment rents, versus $82 for house values, $9 for annual office rents, and $7 for retail rents. Moreover, with each step up the ladder, the average household income climbs $10,000.”

Areas near other walkable areas, which then form an entire walkable district, had higher rents and home values than stand-alone walkable places, according to the study.

“While U.S. home values dropped steadily between 2008 and 2011, distant suburbs experienced the starkest price decreases while more close-in neighborhoods either held steady or in some cases saw price increases,” researchers note in the study. “This distinction in housing proximity is particularly important since it appears that the United States may be at the beginning of a structural real estate market shift. Emerging evidence points to a preference for mixed-use, compact, amenity-rich, transit-accessible neighborhoods or walkable places.”

Walkability is an important criteria for a home buyer…. cuts down on the use of cars, keeps you healthy by walking and a closer connection to your community. Just to name a few reasons…In my opinion these are important factors in a lifestyle. On a recent appraisal of a home… I pointed out to the out of town appraiser, the fact that the home was 1/2 block to the bus stop and less than a mile to the bridge, and also in close proximity to schools and parks. All these factors add value to both the appraised home….and the home buyer.
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