Monday, 27 August 2012

Walk Score and the Value of Your Home: It Makes a Difference!

Walking is good for us. We all know that. We're been told over and over to get off the couch and go for a brisk, healthy walk.  It keeps the blood flowing, reduced stress and it if you have a dog, that dog would be thrilled with more walkies. BUT here's some thing you may not have known: Walking is good for the value of your home.

Huh?  I know. Sounds pretty nuts, but there are some convincing theories gaining in popularity around some thing called a walk score. So far, this research have been done mostly in the States. It suggests that there is a direct relationship between the value of a given property and if the people who live in these homes are able to walk to where they want to go. So, if you live in a neighbhourhood where locals walk to the park, the schools, the coffee shops, and nearby restaurants or transit routes, then you are more likely to own a property that will increase in value or hold its value in a down market compared to other homes with lower walk scores. Not only that, but you will likely live in a neighbourhood with a lower crime rate. With more human traffic around, there seems to be less criminals willing to commit crimes. In many cities, like Toronto, you can find out your walk score. All you need to do is go to and type in your address. Then you can find out just how well your home, or maybe the home you would like to purchase some day, stacks up against other homes. You'll find out just how walkable your property is, and in turn, get a sense of its value. 

In some ways, there's not much new here.  Suburbs score less in walkability and therefore increase less in value. And historically, prices generally seem to reflect this. This is why many new urban planner are trying to build new communities that are real communities, where people can walk to their local stores, and get to know each other a little better. 

As suspected, the cities with the highest walkability scores - New York and San Francisco - are the two most expensive cities in the U.S. to buy property.

In Toronto, if you live in a place like Leslieville, West Bend or any other neighbhourhood that is emerging in the city, you will likely live in a place where the walk score will improve over time. And in turn, up goes the value of your house. 

As a real estate salesperson, I drive every where. So, I'm not here to say you should personally walk to where you need to go. But you should take note: If you could walk to where you need to go or if your neigbhours are walking, it can have a some bearing on where you buy your next place or how much your current home is worth. 

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