In recent years, there has been a huge upswing in environmental concerns and green living. With this change in priorities came an increase in desire for houses in walkable neighborhoods. Proximity to schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and parks, as well as the availability of sidewalks has become a high priority for many homebuyers.
Lucky for you Minnesotans and Minnesota REALTORS®, Minnesota is home to the ninth most walkable large city in the United States, according to Walk Score. Websites that rate cities based on their walkability are becoming increasing more popular, and even have as much influence as to affect housing values. Now that walkability is considered to be a neighborhood amenity, values can raise as much as $3,000 for just a one-point increase in rankings.
Walkability also loosely corresponds to certain health measures, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The ability to walk to a variety of necessary locations increases the amount of exercise that neighborhood residents get on a daily basis. Some claim that the newer designs of suburbs and more contemporary cities have had an adverse effect on the amount of physical activity, primarily walking and cycling, that is possible.
Only ten short years ago, homebuyers were rushing out to the suburbs to escape the urban environment, desperate for more land and expansive cities. It seems that in just over a decade, the entire image of the American Dream has shifted—it no longer requires a house with an enormous lawn and two-car garage. More likely is a dream with schools and stores within walking distance, and a five-bike garage.
Have you found walkability to be important in your life or the lives of your clients? As a relatively walkable state, do you find it easy to find a neighborhood with good walkability in Minnesota?