Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Location, Location, Location

Posted By on Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM

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The Wall Street Journal has a story today on how walkability is an amenity that more homebuyers are looking for.

(It even namechecks a CEOs for Cities study of 90,000 homes in which amenities within walking distance of neighborhoods were shown to boost home values.)

"For a lot of Americans, the whole problem of traffic congestion and having to drive everywhere to do almost anything has made other choices more attractive," says Kaid Benfield, director of the Washington-based Natural Resources Defense Council's Smart Growth Program. Urban planners say it's also a matter of demographics: Baby boomers are coming of empty-nest retirement age, and at the same time their children are buying their first homes, and neither group wants large lots in remote places where little is going on. Fear about future oil prices is also increasing the attractiveness of walkable neighborhoods.

Another study released in January by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that the measure of transportation costs in a given area affect the number of foreclosures.

With Walk Score, which the article references, a potential homebuyer can easily find how a place rates re: walkability.

The site acknowledges its limitations: It doesn't take sidewalks, street design, topography, or traffic into account. And after playing with it a little bit, it's clear there are some deficiencies (nearby movie theaters cited the Orpheum, which does show movies, but ...) but an interesting tool nonetheless.

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