A new study by the Brookings Institution found that real estate values increase in areas where there are sidewalks, paths, and bike lanes. Whether this is the result of baby boomers moving in town where they can remain close to grown children while enjoying urban amenities, or suburban residents demanding less dependance on cars, it is a good omen.
The LEED rating system rewards points for walkable proximity to stores, schools, churches, retail locations, etc. It's nice to see this starting to pay off in higher values in the following cities:
- Capital Hlll (Seattle, WA) vs Redmond (suburb): 50% higher real estate values
- Short North (Columbus, OH) vs Worthington (suburb): 30% higher
- Highlands (Denver) vs. Highlands Ranch (suburb): 67% higher
This is not only confined to city centers. "Demand for walkable urban space extends beyond city centers to suburbs; in metropolitan Washington, more than half of the walkable places are in the suburbs, like Reston Town Center, 22 miles from downtown Washington; Ballston, in Arlington County; and Silver Spring, in suburban Maryland. Residents can easily get to grocery stores, cafes, libraries and work by rail transit, biking and walking." (New York Times)