Why Walkability Might Be the Next Big Must-Have for Home Buyers

Why Walkability Might Be the Next Big Must-Have for Home Buyers

Young adults are lacing up their sneakers and taking steps toward more community-based living—shifting the top priorities for prospective home buyers. A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that an overwhelming majority, or 69%, of Gen Z respondents would opt to live in a more walkable neighborhood with a shorter commute.

Sidewalks and other places to take a stroll proved to be “very” or “somewhat” important to 84% of all respondents, and 61% said they would pay more for a home in a walkable location. But young adults are much more willing to pay up, with 90% of Gen Z and millennial respondents saying they’d pay more to live in a walkable community—and a third of that group saying they’d pay “a lot” more.

“With COVID in our rearview mirror, this study shows that substantial demand for walkability persists for Americans of all ages,” said NAR President Kenny Parcell in a public statement.

Walkability became a priority for many homebuyers during the pandemic, when outdoor socializing was the safest way to see friends and family. For some, living in suburban or rural locations was isolating due to the distance from community members and shopping areas, and they’re reevaluating what’s most important to their lifestyles.

The survey found that those who live in walkable communities are overall happier with their living situation than those who don’t, with half reporting that they are “very” satisfied with their quality of life. However, no matter where people live, they continue to value many of the same things: low crime levels, high-quality schools, safe and well-maintained roads, and some private outdoor space—the larger, the better.

Gen Z and millennials, unlike Boomers and Gen Xers, are OK with living in an attached home instead of a detached house if walkability is part of the deal—53% would prefer it, in fact. In other priorities, Gen Z and millennials put convenient transportation high on their list of needs for a home, unlike Boomers and Gen X.

Among younger people, 42% of Gen Z and 41% of millennials want to be near public transportation, while only 35% of Gen X and 29% of Boomers feel the same. Younger generations are more likely to use rideshare apps to get around, and fewer young adults are making a driver’s license a priority—In 1997, 90 of 20- to 25-year-olds had licenses, but in 2020 only 80% did.

The NAR survey was conducted across the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, reaching a sample size of over 2,000 adults.


Source: Why Walkability Might Be the Next Big Must-Have for Home Buyers Better Homes & Gardens (July 1, 2023) Sharon Greenthal