Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Walkability - a Major Trend in Buyer 'Must Haves'

Talk to any realtor and you'll hear a new buzzword.  'Walkability' is becoming part of the vocabulary for their buyers.  Maybe it's the crazy lives we all lead, or the desire to be more environmentally responsible, but many people want to be able to walk to shops, parks and restaurants. It's certainly high on the buyer's 'must have' list  for a new home.  And it makes a difference in a home's value.  The Brookings Institute finds that it can have a dramatic impact on the price people are willing to pay.

Do you know the Walk Score of your house?   There is a website that will give you a walkability score.  You simply type in your address and it gives you the walk score.  Not surprisingly, New York City tops the list in the US with a score of 88.  But many cities score much, much lower.

So, I was curious how our neighborhood stacked up.  At first glance, when you look at South Portland, you discover it's not very walkable - it has a score of 40.  It's classified as 'car dependent'.  A walkability that low means you need a car to get around.

Spring Point Lighthouse and Fort Preble at the end of Willard Beach
But when I type in the address for our project, the walkability shoots up to 51.  That's 'somewhat walkable' - and they don't even take into account that Spring Point Lighthouse, Bug Light lighthouse and Willard Beach are all less than a 15 minutes walk.  It's also close to the 'Greenbelt' which is a walking and biking path that runs across South Portland and will eventually connect to the Eastern Trail, providing off road routes all the way to Portsmouth, NH.

Willard Beach on a bright, crisp day
Personally, a walkable neighborhood is incredibly important to us. We want to walk to shops, restaurants, the beach.  We see it as an important quality of life element.  Do you want to live in a walkable neighborhood?  And if yes, why is it important to you?

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