Looking for the perfect place to call home? Most homebuyers consider three primary criteria when searching for a home: price, size, and location. In terms of location, though, there are several factors to think about, and one of those is Walk Score.
Walk Score is a metric that helps homebuyers find walkable places to live — properties that are within walking distance of essential stores and services people need on a daily basis, like supermarkets, pharmacies, and more.Knowing the ins and outs of this important metric can help you make your next home purchase with confidence.
Walk Score is a tool for walkability analysis, powered by real estate conglomerate Redfin. Using walkability analytics and search tools, Walk Score assigns a numerical score to any address in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia, with more regions to come.
Properties are given a rating from 0 to 100. A score of 0 is assigned to entirely unwalkable properties, or homes where residents must use a car for day-to-day errands. A score of 100, on the other hand, reflects a completely walkable home. Homeowners who live in properties with a walk score of 100 can easily access essential services and amenities they need on an average day.
As homebuyers search for the perfect property for their family, one way to compare houses is by looking at their Walk Score. You’ll find the Walk Score of a property by searching the Walk Score database. As you browse many of the most popular real estate websites across the country, you’ll often see a property’s Walk Score embedded in their listing. In all, more than 30,000 websites feature Walk Score data — it’s that important. Refer to this breakdown of Walk Scores as you search for your next property.
While most Americans have access to an automobile, the walkability of a property is very important. Not only does it benefit you, the homeowner, but it also benefits our natural environment. Here’s why walkability matters:
The Walk Score metric has been around for over a decade, and its algorithm has changed over the years. While the details regarding how Walk Score is calculated are a proprietary secret, it’s not hard to understand the drivers of its overall calculation.
Essentially, Walk Score is calculated by measuring the walking distance from a given address to nearby amenities in seven key categories:
Some of the previous categories hold more weight than others, with groceries, dining and drinking, shopping, and errands impacting scores the most. Destinations that are within a quarter-mile walk from a given address contribute maximum points (100) to the Walk Score. As the distance increases, fewer points are awarded, with the fewest points awarded to locations that are up to 1.5 miles away from the address.
There are some other interesting contributors to an address’s overall Walk Score, including intersections and population density. The more intersections there are along routes to essential amenities, the more the Walk Score increases. Why? More intersections mean more sidewalks and shorter blocks, offering multiple routes to the destination.
Areas with higher population density also increase an address’s Walk Score. The reasoning behind this factor is interesting. Walk Score’s algorithm looks favorably on dense neighborhoods, since numerous people can offset the presence of non-livable spaces like bodies of water and parks that still enhance the overall quality of life.
If you’re looking for a home in a highly walkable neighborhood, you’ll need to be prepared to pay more for it. One study found that a single Walk Score point can boost the price of a home by an average of $3,250. While this is no small sum, on average representing an increase of 0.9% in the price of a home, it’s an investment you should get back if you choose to sell the home in the future.
When you’re searching for a home, there are plenty of considerations to keep in mind, but don’t forget to take a close look at the Walk Score of each property you come across. Homes with a high Walk Score are worth more, and they provide homeowners with health, financial, and environmental benefits for the entire time they own the property. Choose a home with a high Walk Score and look forward to more fresh air and exercise as you go about your daily routine!
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