How Important is Walkability When It Comes to New Home Buying?

Walkability Has Become Essential

While it’s not actually a “real” word, “walkability” has become a hugely important real estate term in recent years. More and more homeowners, particularly younger buyers, are actively seeking homes in areas that offer the convenience of shops, restaurants, parks, and even work all within walking distance.

It’s certainly not a new concept, but it’s more popular now than ever. These days, first time home buyers are favoring more urban neighborhoods to traditional suburban communities, and it’s led to a revitalization of urban centers across the United States. Here in Kansas City, neighborhoods like East Brookside, Westwood, old Overland Park, West Plaza and others throughout the metro have embraced walkability as a defining feature – and we’re proud to say, it’s an essential feature of the Plaza Heights development. Walkability has become an increasingly popular trend in urban design, putting the focus on getting feet on sidewalks, rather than cars on the roads.

Zillow Walk Score

Real estate has always revolved around location, but the “burbs” are no longer the popular hot spots in the Kansas City real estate market. Many of today’s buyers are less and less interested in the big McMansions of the ‘90s with their huge backyards and oversized footprints. Quite the opposite, actually. These days, walkable community development in more urban areas is encouraged (and preferred for many). According to the National Association of Realtors, an overwhelming majority of millennials (62 percent, in fact) prefer to live in a walkable community where a car is optional.

Walkability has become so important that now popular services like Zillow even feature it as a core element in determining the value of a home! It’s more than simply a wish-list item for current buyers though – walkability has a number of benefits far more significant than just convenience:

Improving the Environment

Walkable communities tend to reduce vehicle dependence, which in turn, reduces air and noise pollution since residents can walk to everything they need on a daily basis. And of course, the added benefit of fewer vehicles on the road is more neighborhood green space.

Health Benefits

Higher walkability in neighborhoods has been associated with decreased rates of obesity and diabetes as it allows residents to incorporate more activity into their daily life. Most important of all, however, is that walkable neighborhoods provide a much greater sense of community that traditional suburban areas – and increased social interaction can improve individuals’ health and happiness.

Economic Benefits

Did you know, there is a direct correlation between neighborhoods with high “walk scores” and higher property values? On the whole, neighborhood walkability scores are linked to stronger neighborhood economic health.

With the convenience of all the Country Club Plaza shops and restaurants just down the street from Plaza Heights, residents can help support the local economy. Savings generated from less frequent vehicle use can lead to a modest increase in disposable income too.

The growth of walkable communities is expected to rise as millennial homebuyers enter the real estate market since the benefits of these communities are especially attractive to younger generations. As the “walkability” factor continues to lead the way in home buying trends, local homeowners will reap the benefits of a healthier environment and economy.

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About Plaza Heights

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