How often have you heard that homebuyers, and particularly young buyers, are looking for “walkable” neighborhoods? There are a number of benefits associated with living in neighborhoods where services and amenities are accessible by foot, bike, or transit:
- Residents of walkable neighborhoods tend to be healthier, and the benefits can be both physical and mental.
- Living in a walkable neighborhood can mean spending less on a car, and cars are our second largest household expense.
- Walkable communities have higher levels of arts organizations, creativity, and civic engagement.
In addition, research has demonstrated that homes within walking distance of jobs, schools, shopping, parks and other amenities sell for more than comparable homes that are not in walkable communities. In fact, nationwide, for every one-point increase in “Walk Score” (see below), the price of a home rises by an average of $3,250.
What is a “Walk Score”?
A Walk Score measures the walkability of any address in the U.S. based on distances and walking routes to a range of amenities and services, as well as data on population density and road networks. A Walk Score for a particular address can range from 0 to 100:
90–100 Walker’s Paradise – Daily errands do not require a car
70–89 Very Walkable – Most errands can be accomplished on foot
50–69 Somewhat Walkable – Some errands can be accomplished on foot
25–49 Car-Dependent – Most errands require a car
0–24 Car-Dependent – Almost all errands require a car
There are also Transit Scores and Bike Scores that measure access to services and amenities by bike or transit.
What Communities in Virginia Have High Walk Scores?
The most walkable communities (based on the Walk Score methodology) tend to be located in Northern Virginia where the population density is highest. The Walk Score is highest for Arlington at 69. (The community with the highest Walk Score in the country? Manhattan, with a Walk Score of 89.) Other places with high levels of walkability include the Bailey’s Crossroads section of Fairfax County, along with the City of Fairfax and the McNair/Oak Hill neighborhoods of Fairfax County.
Outside of Northern Virginia, Charlottesville has a high Walk Score, along with Richmond and Winchester.
Top 10 Walkable Communities in Virginia
|City||Walk Score||Transit Score||Bike Score|
|Bailey’s Crossroads (Fairfax County)||63||50||53|
|McNair/Oak Hill (Fairfax County)||53||36||44|
|West Falls Church||50||35||45|
Virginia REALTORS® can look up the Walk Score (and Transit Score and Bike Score) of any address in the Commonwealth at https://www.walkscore.com/VA. Knowing the value walkability brings to a home, consider including the Walk Score (and what it means!) in your listings.
REALTORS® can also get involved in their communities to improve walkability and quality of life for both current and new residents. The National Association of REALTORS® has a case study from Minnesota about how REALTORS® helped make a community more walkable and connected.
If you need any more information about Walk Scores or other measures of neighborhood quality, please email me.