Most walkable neighborhoods have highest premiums
A study of 21,000 single-family house sales in Austin, Texas, found the highest value premiums for walkability in the most walkable neighborhoods. Areas with a Walk Score above 90 showed "a 1 percent increase in walkability yielded a $1,329 increase in property values; a 1 percent increase in sidewalk density generated a $785 increase in property values. Homes in neighborhoods that are at least somewhat walkable (SSWS between 50 and 70) and very walkable (SSWS between 70 and 90) also experienced premium increases, although correspondingly less.
"In contrast, increasing walkability and sidewalks in car-dependent neighborhoods (SSWS less than 50) did not have any significant impact on property values. Therefore, it is likely that an investment in sidewalks and neighborhood amenities will yield a greater home price increase in a walkable neighborhood than in a car-dependent neighborhood."
The study by six researchers at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Texas A&M University, "Assessing Benefits of Neighborhood Walkability to Single-Family Property Values," supports many other studies—such as this study by economist Joe Cortright. Research on Greater Boston by Christopher Leinberger and Patrick Lynch showed walkability premiums across all real estate product types. The Texas A&M study can be viewed for free through October.
While these studies raise concerns about housing affordability in cities, walkability substantially lowers household transportation costs. The websites H&T Index of the Center for Neighborhood Technology and HUD's Location Affordability Portal demonstrate that urban neighborhoods are the most affordable when transportation is taken into account.