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Living in a Walker’s Paradise: How Walk Score Affects Real Estate

October 18 2018
by Leisl Bailey

Crowd of people walking down a busy city street.

You’ve just moved to a new city—and you don’t have car.

If you’re wondering whether or not that’s going to be a problem and if you’ll need to buy a car or figure out local public transportation, then you will need to discover your local area’s walk score.

A walk score is exactly what it sounds like. An area with a high walk score means that you don’t need a car or even public transportation to get around successfully.

Typically, areas with higher walk scores are more urban, which makes sense as things are usually closer together in these areas and therefore easier to access without a car.

How does Walk Score work?

Although a private company created the Walk Score System, it’s also been verified by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. The system rates areas based on walkability.

The walk score methodology examines the proximity of things like grocery stores, post offices, schools, and offices to a particular address—as well as the presence of safe walking paths.

An area’s walk score is divided into these main categories:

90–100 Walker’s Paradise
Daily errands do not require a car
70–89 Very Walkable
Most errands can be accomplished on foot
50–69 Somewhat Walkable
Some errands can be accomplished on foot
25–49 Car-Dependent
Most errands require a car
0–24 Car-Dependent
Almost all errands require a car

Luckily, if your immediate area isn’t too walkable, there are other scales to examine as well, such as the scale for public transportation:

90–100 Rider’s Paradise
World-class public transportation
70–89 Excellent Transit
Transit is convenient for most trips
50–69 Good Transit
Many nearby public transportation options
25–49 Some Transit
A few nearby public transportation options
0–24 Minimal Transit
It is possible to get on a bus

And the scale for bike riding:

90–100 Biker’s Paradise
Daily errands can be accomplished on a bike
70–89 Very Bikeable
Biking is convenient for most trips
50–69 Bikeable
Some bike infrastructure
0–49 Somewhat Bikeable
Minimal bike infrastructure

The qualifications for a good walk score and a good bike score are very similar; however, for bikers, it should be noted that further distances can be covered because of the use of a bicycle.

Walk Scores actually affect health.

Living in an area with a good walk score has many benefits!

Health

Residents of walkable neighborhoods weigh 6-10 pounds less on average than those who do not. Walkability may also have mental health benefits. This is because taking a walk is a great way to clear your mind!

Environment

Did you know that nearly 87% of CO2 emissions come from burning fossil fuels? Fewer cars on the road in your neighborhood means less smog and less traffic. This not only reduces physical pollution but noise pollution as well.

Money

Typically, Realtors and home assessors agree that just 1 point of Walk Score can add nearly $3,250 to your home’s value. This makes homes in areas with high walk scores primed for resale.

In addition, cars are a money pit. If you don’t have to pay for insurance, gas, and maintenance, you will be saving thousands of dollars each year.

When Your Home Has a Bad Walk Score

Having a bad walk score is nothing to panic over, especially if you think about the context of your home.

Do you live on a ranch in Nebraska? What about on a coastal drive in Northern California? Neither of these homes would have high walk scores, but that doesn’t mean that they are not high-value homes.

Plus, with the right agent, a bad Walk Score won’t even be on buyers’ minds!

Sell or Buy a Home with Clever and Save Thousands!

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Cities with the Highest Walk Scores

As of 2018, the cities in the USA with the highest walk scores are the usual suspects.

Here are the top 10 cities with the highest walk scores:

  • New York City, New York
  • San Francisco, California
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Miami, Florida
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Oakland, California
  • Long Beach, California

As you can see, these are all very urban cities and all cities known for competitive and expensive real estate markets. This goes to show that the walk score’s rubric for grading the quality of areas is simply spot on—as each of these cities is a highly desirable place to live year after year.

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Are you interested in selling your home—high walk score or not? Clever is here for you—all for just one flat fee. Call us today at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.