Discussing walkability without mentioning Walk Score is like trying to discuss the weather without mentioning the temperature.
Walk Score, a website launched by two former Microsoft employees in 2007, is a much quoted authority on the walkability of real estate ranging from a home to a neighborhood to an entire city.
A recent Walk Score report showed that a one-point increase in the Walk Score of a home can increase the median sales price by an average of nearly 1 percent or $3,250.
Now owned by nationwide real estate brokerage Redfin, Walk Score uses a proprietary algorithm to calculate walkability scores on a scale of 1 to 100 for every address in the country, sharing its data with more than 30,000 websites that show a combined 20 million scores per day — a clear sign that people care about walkability when choosing where to live.ALex9 “The websites run the gamut from large real estate sites like Redfin to small mom-and-pops to regional brokerages (and) multiple listing services,” said Aleisha Jacobson, business director at Walk Score. “Since the very beginning, it’s been a viral spread. People hear about Walk Score, they check it out and want to add it to their site.”
Walk Score bases its scores on the walking distance from any given address to amenities such as stores, restaurants and parks, the number of nearby amenities and the ease of walking to them — with short blocks and regular intersections considered more pedestrian friendly. An address with a score of 70-89 is “very walkable.” A score of 90-100 is considered “a walker’s paradise.”
The report tying Walk Scores to sales prices looked at more than one million homes sold between January 2014 and April 2016 across 14 major metro areas. In all cases, a home in a more walkable neighborhood was more expensive than the same home in a less walkable location.
The biggest percentage premium was in Atlanta, where a one-point increase in Walk Score resulted in a 1.69 percent increase in the median sales price. The smallest was in Orange County, Calif., 0.02 percent increase. In terms of dollars, the largest increase was in Washington, D.C., $4,386, and the smallest was once again in Orange County, $114.
Not all Walk Score points create equal value. A onepoint increase in Walk Score from 19 to 20 resulted in an average home price increase of just $181 across all metros. However, a one-point increase from 79 to 80 was worth more than $7,000. The escalating price premiums imply high demand relative to supply for homes in high scoring neighborhoods.