Thursday, 7 June 2012

Walkability Pays

Want to make a real estate investment?  Don't build standard suburbs but invest in walkable, bikeable neighborhoods. 

This should not be news to anyone, but Christopher Leindorfer once again points to mounting evidence that what is selling now is convenient neighborhoods with good public transport and walk- and/or bike-ability. 

" In metropolitan Seattle in 1996, the suburban Redmond area, home to Microsoft, had the same price per square foot as Capitol Hill, a walkable area adjacent to downtown,... Today, Capitol Hill is valued nearly 50 percent above Redmond," he writes.  He has several other examples, too.

Canadian cities are steps ahead of those in the US when it comes to recognizing the importance of convenient, non-private car transport.  It's no surprise that Jane Jacobs found Toronto so congenial when she left New York in the late 1960s because it is so friendly to active transportation.   Montreal, built on a denser street layout for the most part, is even more walker-friendly.

This means that we would get a pretty penny for our house in an extremely walkable neighborhood.  That, in turn,  means the  increase in assessed valuation that we just learned about would be hard to contest: the prices are going through the roof, and the evaluation is based on "market value."  I guess we had the right idea, decades ago when we bought the place for not that much at all.

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