With the demand for walkability on the upswing, the National Association of REALTORS® has rolled out several resources to better acquaint members with the concept and how the trend impacts their business.
Homebuyers rely on REALTORS®’ knowledge of local markets and conditions to help them find a home in a neighborhood of choice, the NAR emphasized, adding “As the walkability trend continues, homebuyers will expect REALTORS® to know how walkable a community is and where the most walkable communities in an area are located.”
According to NAR’s 2020 Community Preference Survey, 76% of respondents say that living in a walkable community would be very or somewhat important if they were deciding where to live today, and nearly 80 percent see walkable communities as an important attribute.
The Regional Plan Association found that 56% of millennials and 46% of baby boomers prefer to live in more walkable, mixed-used neighborhoods.
Walkability is either the top or a high priority for half the respondents in an Urban Land Institute Survey, when researchers asked about where they would choose to live.
The resources NAR created to raise awareness of walkability and how Realtors could help make communities more walkable include:
- Walkable Community Fact Sheet: a 2-page overview.
- Walkable Community Overview for REALTORS®: a short introduction to walkable communities, the demand for them, and the impact on the real estate market.
- Advocating for a More Walkable Communities: a how-to guide to advocate for more walkable communities including an overview on relevant zoning and policies.
- Walkable Community Workshop How-to Guide: a how-to guide on conducting a WalkShop, (a walkable community workshop).
- Make your Community a More Walkable Place Webinar: details on what makes a great walkable community, Walk Scores, and one community’s strategy to become more walkable.
- REALTORS® Help Cities Plan for Walkability: an overview of how six local REALTOR® associations partnered with local governments to sponsor Walkable Community Workshops in their communities.
- On Common Ground’s issue on Walkable Neighborhoods: articles include “The Walkable Demand,” “Zoning for Walkable Neighborhoods,” and “Myrtle Beach: Working on Walking.”
In addition to NAR’s resources, Walk Score, a private Seattle-based company that produces a walkability index with a numerical score, is focused on having a walk score be part of every real estate listing. The company, founded in 2007, became part of Redfin in 2014. It also assigns a Bike Score and Transit Score to points on a map.
Walk Score claims to show more than 20 million scores daily and over 30,000 participating websites. It has ranked more than 2,800 cities and 10,000 neighborhoods.
According to its 2020 U.S. Cities & Neighborhood rankings, Seattle ranked 8th with a walk score of 74. New York topped the rankings with a walk score of 88.3. Rounding out the top five were #2 San Francisco (87.4); #3 Boston (82.0); #4 Philadelphia (78.8), and #5 Miami (77.6).