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The Importance of Being Within a 10-Minute Walk

Disclaimer: These are highly personal reviews of real estate books that I found impressive. Please note that all the data shared here are from the respective books.


Walking distance is often a critical factor in determining the attractiveness and value of a property. The ability to reach essential amenities and services within a short walk can significantly enhance the quality of life for residents.


Chapter 23. What's Walkability Worth?

(How walkable neighborhoods affect property value)



There is something called a Walk Score. It's a method that shows how easily one can live in a certain area without a car, relying solely on walking or biking.



Since the 1980s, urban planners have started designing and creating communities where all the necessary amenities for life, such as homes, schools, workplaces, shopping spaces, restaurants, train stations, etc., are within walking distance. They began to realize that a life dependent on cars is not beneficial for people's health, economic aspects, or the health of the planet and started seeking solutions accordingly.



In designing such spaces, early urban planners used a test called the popsicle test, which became the precursor to the walk score. It involved scoring based on whether an 8-year-old child could safely walk or bike to buy an ice cream (popsicle) from a certain point on a map and return without crossing highways or getting lost.



As the popsicle score evolved into the walkability score, new towns or existing towns began to adapt to this trend. As a result, Millennials born after 1980 drive about 20% less than their parents' generation. And walk score is becoming one of the criteria for evaluating homes.



Walkability and the Real Estate Market


So, what is the relationship between walkability and the real estate market? Homes in areas with high walkability have three characteristics compared to those in less walkable areas, as shown in the table above.


Home values ​​rise quickly.


Looking at about 15 years from 2000 to 2014, for example in Chicago, homes in Walker's Paradise and Very Walkable areas increased by about 40 to 50%, while those in other areas increased by only 10 to 20%.


Price declines are less severe during recessions.


After the subprime crisis, around 2010, real estate prices hit rock bottom. As shown in the graph above, the decline in home prices in Walkable Paradise areas is noticeably smaller than in other areas.


Prices recover quickly after recessions.


As easily seen in the graph, areas with high walkability also experienced faster recovery to pre-recession prices.


So, do you need to consider the Walk Score

when buying a home?


Not necessarily. High walkability does not always mean that home prices rise quickly. The level of walkability is also important. Even if everything necessary for life can be reached on foot, if the neighborhood is unsafe or if the condition of amenities or neighbors is not good, walkability has no meaning.


Moreover, the lifestyle of the person buying the home is also important. I believe that the comfort of the person living in the house is the first condition for choosing a house. If someone dislikes walking, high walkability can be a hindrance in their life.


However, if all other conditions are equal within the same neighborhood, it is undoubtedly a better choice to buy a home with a high walkability score.


So how do you check the walkability of your home or the home you are considering?


The method is very simple. By going to walkscore.com on the internet and searching for the relevant address, you can get search results like the one above.


Once again, if all else is equal, it's essential to check the walkability after considering other factors when purchasing a home.



Now it's about to be summer. Take care of your health, everyone. I'll see you in the next article.

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