Walking The Walk

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Economist Joe Cortright shares exciting findings from research done for CEOs for Cities about the positive effect of higher Walkscores on housing values. See http://www.ceosforcities.org/work/walkingthewalk for more information. Presented at the CNU 2009 Transportation Summit in Portland — http://cnu.org/transportation2009 .

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Walking The Walk

  1. 1. Walking the Walk How Walkability Increases Home Prices in U.S. Cities By Joseph Cortright for Supported by a generous grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
  2. 2. Road Map • Walkability • Walk Score • Hedonic Modeling • The Value of Walkability • Implications
  3. 3. Walkability and Value • Cities are about access • Walkable places have the highest levels of access • Walkability has value
  4. 4. Walking and Cities • “The Sidewalk Ballet” - Jane Jacobs • Characteristics: - Short blocks, connected streets - Sidewalks - A mix of uses and housing types • How do we measure “walkability”?
  5. 5. It’s All about Destinations • It’s not just about sidewalks. • Are there places you can walk to?
  6. 6. www.walkscore.com
  7. 7. Walk Score Destinations • Grocery Store • Restaurant • Co ee Shop • Bar • Movie Theater • School • Park • Library • Bookstore • Fitness • Drug Store • Hardware Store • Clothing and Music Store
  8. 8. How Walk Score is Computed • Straight-line distance to nearest destination in each of 13 categories • Relies on Google Maps database • Doesn’t address topography, sidewalks, street connectivity or built environment
  9. 9. Walk Score Values • 90–100 = Walkers' Paradise • 70–89 = Very Walkable • 50–69 = Somewhat Walkable • 25–49 = Car-Dependent • 0–24 = Car-Dependent (Driving Only)
  10. 10. Walkability Varies by Neighborhood Source: Walkscore.com
  11. 11. Analyzing Housing Value • Houses are a “bundle” of characteristics • Structure • Neighborhood • Market • Hedonic models statistically decompose value of di erent attributes of a product • How much do consumers value each
  12. 12. Hedonic Models Widely Used • Value housing characteristics • Accessibility • Environmental attributes: - Parks - views - tree cover - clean air
  13. 13. The Data • 94,000 home sales • 15 metropolitan markets: Arlington, Virginia Las Vegas, Nevada Austin, Texas Phoenix, Arizona Bakersfield, California Sacramento, California Charlotte, North Carolina San Francisco, California Chicago, Illinois Seattle, Washington Dallas, Texas Stockton, California Fresno, California Tucson, Arizona Jacksonville, Florida
  14. 14. Variables • Housing Characteristics - Size (square feet) - Bedrooms - Bathrooms - Age • Type (condo/single family) • Neighborhood Characteristics - Centrality (distance to CBD) - Job access ( jobs within 3 miles) - Income (median neighborhood income) - Walk Score
  15. 15. Model Results • After controlling for other observable di erences in housing and neighborhoods, walkability had a statistically significant positive e ect on housing values in 13 of 15 metropolitan areas • One metro had a negative walkability e ect (Las Vegas); one was statistically insignificant (Bakersfield) • Estimates of other variables were consistent with published studies of housing values
  16. 16. Walk Score Adds Value In a typical metropolitan area, each 1 point increase in Walk Score was associated with a $700 to $3000 increase in home value, holding all other factors constant.
  17. 17. How Much Gain is Typical? • How much gain from going from an average level of walkability to an above average level of walkability? • Comparing two neighborhoods in Charlotte, NC • Charlotte estimates: Each 1 point increase in Walk Score was associated with a $1,986 increase in home values.
  18. 18. Ashley Park: Walk Score = 54 (median) Source: Walkscore.com
  19. 19. Wilmore: Walk Score = 71 (top 25%) Source: Walkscore.com
  20. 20. Two Neighborhoods • Ashley Park: • Wilmore - Median Walk Score - 75th Percentile Walk Score - Walk Score 54 - Walk Score 71 - Median Value: $280,000 - Median Value: $314,000 Gain: $34,000 or 12%
  21. 21. Improving Walkability Adds $10,000 to $30,000 to Home Values in Most Cities
  22. 22. Implications • Improving walkability helps maintain and increase housing values • Walkability is shaped by public and private decisions: land use and development • Mixed-use development produces big walkability gains • Transit access often coincides with high walkability
  23. 23. Walking the Walk • Walkability adds value to residential property • Strong evidence of a market demand for walkable, mixed-use development
  24. 24. Walking the Walk Thank you. For more information or a copy of the full report, contact Sheila Redick at sredick@ceosforcities.org.

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