More Walkable Neighborhoods Are Better for Home Values, Study Finds

A study coauthored by University of Washington researchers has found that when neighborhood are more walkable and have a more diverse mix of housing types, local property values rise. The benefits are shared across housing types.

Researchers also describe significant, broadly shared quality of life improvements.

A UW press release sums up the study's methodology:

[Researchers] used property values as a measure of economic value, analyzing them in relation to neighborhood characteristics that correlate with walking, including access to open space and public transportation, mixed-use zoning and pedestrian infrastructure such as sidewalks.

They learned that pedestrian aids, such as sidewalks and shorter street blocks, as well as a mix of retail, commercial and residential properties significantly contributed to increases in multifamily rental property values.

The researchers also found that the presence of retail stores within walking distance of housing increases the success of those businesses substantially.

The study focused on neighborhoods in King County, Washington, where Seattle is located. But the types of neighborhoods analyzed are common throughout Oregon, from larger cities like Portland and Salem and even in smaller places in suburban and rural Oregon. They often feature collections of single-family homes at medium to high density amid a walkable street grid, within walking distance of a commercial street that may have some apartments or mixed-use buildings.

The study, co-authored by UW professor of urban design and planning Anne Vernez Moudon, and former UW students Dong Wook Sohn and Jeasun Lee, was published in the April issue of Urban Design International. (You may need to access this article through your local library.)

Many Oregonians live in neighborhoods with all the fundamentals in place for better walkability. At 1000 Friends, we believe that good land use is key to making such outcomes possible--creating neighborhoods with a variety of housing and transportation options, and supporting a sustainable local economy. Learn more about the role of land use in your neighborhood at friends.org/LandUseIs.