How much value is there to living in a community that’s difficult to access? As home buyers are increasingly focusing on community features during their home search, walkable neighborhoods are becoming a bigger and bigger draw. Today, we explain just what makes a neighborhood walkable, which demographics are searching for homes like yours, and how to promote your Western North Carolina home for its walkability.
What Makes a Neighborhood Walkable?
Traditionally, the fields of transportation and public health consider 0.25 miles to be an acceptable walking distance for reference in research studies. However, sheer distance to a destination is not this only factor that makes a neighborhood walkable.
According to WalkScore.com, walkable neighborhoods have a central core, which could be a main street or other type of public space. They are populated enough for businesses to flourish and public transit to run frequently, and buildings face the street, with parking situated in back. Streets in walkable neighborhoods are designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transit, and mixed use buildings include space for mixed income housing, including affordable homes. Most importantly, schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes, and an abundance of parks and public spaces make it easy to gather and play.
Who’s Looking for Walkable Neighborhoods?
Millennials, who made up 34% of all home buyers in 2017, strongly prefer walkable and bikeable communities. 62% indicate they prefer to live in the type of mixed-use communities found in urban centers, where they can be close to shops, restaurants, and offices. They are currently living in these urban areas at a higher rate than any other generation, and 40% say they would like to live in an urban area in the future. As a result, for the first time since the 1920s, growth in U.S. cities outpaces growth outside of them.
These “urban” preferences aren’t limited to big cities, though. Even urban cores located outside of major metropolitan areas—such as West Asheville, Biltmore Park, and many others across WNC—are attracting millennial home buyers and renters. An active lifestyle and access to work, shopping, and entertainment are key for this demographic, who prefer to bypass the sprawl of big box districts by shopping online.
While it’s easy to pin the shift in the real estate market to its newest entrants, millennials aren’t the only ones looking for walkable neighborhoods. Seniors are just as interested in active and accessible lifestyles, especially those planning to age in place. A Place for Mom Senior Living Blog surveyed 948 families looking for senior housing:
We found that between 80 and 90% of independent living and senior apartments consumers found it at least somewhat important to be within walking distance of at least one major neighborhood amenity. More surprising: 66% of assisted living consumers do, too, and over a quarter of them find a walkable neighborhood very important or mandatory to their decision.
How to Promote Homes in Walkable Neighborhoods
Many home buyers will compromise on the number of bedrooms or type of tile in the bathroom. But they won’t compromise on the neighborhood. If you are selling a home in one of the many walkable communities in WNC, here are three ways you can promote that feature with your property listing:
1. Mention walkability your property description.
It may be obvious to you that your home is in a walkable neighborhood. But with more than 4,700 active listings in our region, it’s important to make sure home buyers can find your home among the flotsam. Make sure your real estate agents includes terms like “walkable” or “walking distance” in the property description.
2. Promote walkability during open houses.
Many open house goers are as interested in learning more about the neighborhood as they are about your home. Promote its proximity to local hotspots by having snacks, coffee, or other small goodies available from walkable locations. Label each with the approximate walk to that location.
3. Log your home’s distance to important amenities.
Did you know that on every Beverly-Hanks home listing, we have the ability to display your home’s distance to common area amenities? If proximity is a key feature of your home, make sure your agent has distances set for the nearest airport, food and dining, gas and grocery, hospital, interstate, and entertainment.
All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, we believe it is important for you to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. If you would like more information about promoting a home within a local walkable community, our experts at Beverly-Hanks are here to help. Contact us today to speak with a Beverly-Hanks real estate agent about selling homes and land in Western North Carolina.
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