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A Walker’s Guide to Home Buying

by Carla Griffin on September 15, 2011

Many home buyers today not only take into consideration the neighborhood and school in which a house is located, but also which amenities, such as stores and public transportation, are within walking distance.

  • According to urban planners, changing demographics are driving this growing trend.  The baby boomer generation is approaching empty-nest retirement age, while their children are buying their first homes; neither group wants large lots in remote areas with little access to big-box stores, public transportation, and entertainment.  Concerns about future oil prices also are increasing the attractiveness of walkable communities, according to planners.
  • Home buyers interested in finding homes in walkable communities can use myriad Web sites; one commonly used site is WalkScore.com.  The site enables users to enter an address and receive a score ranging from zero to 100 (“car dependent” to “walkers paradise”) indicating the walkability of the community.
  • Housing prices also are reflecting the new interest in walking distances.  A study published by the nonprofit group CEOs for Cities found having more amenities in walking distance can boost home values.  As measured on Walk Score, walking-distance amenities raised values by as much as $3,000 for each one-point increase in rankings.

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