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Paul Suding: Neighborhood Walkability a Valuable Amenity for Homeowners

It has social benefits, and can add thousands of dollars to the value of a home

“A recent study sponsored by CEOs for Cities, a national consortium of civic and business leaders, found that homes in neighborhoods with good walkability are more valuable than similar homes in neighborhoods where residents have to drive to get to amenities” (HouseLogic.com).

This is timely stuff. As the cost of gasoline fluctuates, homeowners’ ability to walk to local stores and services becomes very important. If you can walk to a local convenience store, for example, you may consider it an amenity at least as valuable as, say, a neighborhood park.

Such walkability, according to the study, adds $4,000 to $34,000 to the value of a home (these are national figures), depending on the size and nature of the neighborhood. Improvements to walkability are especially valued in neighborhoods whose access to public transportation links up with walking paths.

The study’s authors suspect, too, “that walking also has important social benefits — having a lot of people walking around signals that an area is safe, convenient, lively and interesting.”

In short, it creates community, and enhances the desirability of a place to live. And communities can increase their neighborhoods’ walkability without going to great expense. Indeed, local municipalities are often willing to consider helping with the improvements, particularly to residential roads.

Paul Suding, a real estate agent with Cool Santa Barbara Homes and Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.455.8055.

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