Walkability As The Ultimate Amenity For Luxury Homebuyers
In American suburbs spawned in the post-war era, sidewalks largely existed for show. Everyone drove everywhere; few would have been caught dead walking. In such a municipality, it was implausible you’d make a new acquaintance on the street, unless you exchanged names, numbers and insurers after being involved in a fender bender.
Like artificial turf, Nehru jackets and eight-track players, that sensibility has been consigned to the dimming memories of aging Baby Boomers and their elders. For years if not decades now, walkability has been among prized amenities touted by developers of upscale communities. Placing schools, shopping, entertainment, work and recreation within walking distance not only enhances residents’ health, fitness and overall quality of life, but can actually boost the value of a property.
A recent Redfin study linked the Walk Score of a property to a direct increase in the price that house was able to fetch. Increasing a Walk Score from 19 to 20 brought average increases of about $180. But an increase in Walk Score from 79 to 80 was associated with a surge of more than $7,000 in property value.
The pandemic only served to hike the popularity of walkable communities, given their tendency to place residents in fresh air, and out of droplet-filled public buses and trains. What follows are sketches of a few newer developments whose creators clearly placed walkability among qualities they fervently wished future residents to savor.