Thursday, August 27, 2009

Walkable Neighborhoods equals Housing Recovery and Increased Value

When I think of “Walkable Neighborhoods” the first thing that comes to mind is Quality of Life.

The idea that I don’t have to get into my automobile and instead being able to get outside, exercise and visit places where I want to be on foot is all that I need. However, there is also a direct economic benefit to Walkable Neighborhoods that may not always get recognized and in these difficult times may present buyers a great opportunity. The Concord Group, (a leading real estate strategy firm with offices in Newport Beach, San Francisco and Boston. TCG's employing 40 consultants completing over 350 assignments annually in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America). recently prepared a report titled “United States Housing Outlook, When Will Markets Recover?” In this report, The Concord Group forecasts the U.S. housing market and discusses both risk and opportunity in real estate. The report shows significant variations in regional real estate markets based on a wide variety of contributing factors. One such area that was discussed was the opportunities that exist within specific submarkets even when the greater region may be suffering. The report specifically states “Locations with proximity to quality schools, accessible leisure and entertainment options and diversity of jobs will also outperform recover timeframes. Submarket-level analyses will identify opportunities and constraints that diverge from the regional average. Regions with strong long-term growth fundamentals and diversified economic bases will emerge earliest, whereas the outlying commuter markets will lag”. It goes on to say that “quality new housing” in core employment centers are expected to be an opportunity, particularly in competitive infill environments.

Another report, "Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities," commissioned by CEO’s for Cities which is a national network of urban leaders from civic, business, academic and philanthropic sectors look at 94,000 real-estate transactions in 15 markets. In 13 of those markets, higher levels of "walkability" were DIRECTLY linked to higher home values. The report is one of a kind in that it looked solely at the economics of living within a Walkable community and left other items such as the health and environmental benefits alone. One example was two neighborhoods in Charlotte N.C. where one neighborhood with a walk score of 54 had median home prices of $280,000 while in Whilmore, where the average score was 71, median prices of similar homes were $314,000 with each point increase in Walkability resulting in a $500 to $3000 increase in value. In the end the report concludes with the idea that "This is not about people having to live without cars." Rather, it's about giving people the option to use them less often. "They don't need to use them for every single trip, and when they do have to, they don't have to drive as far,"

Simply put, communities that are close to jobs, schools, restaurants, retail etc…are the homes that depreciate the least in tough economic times and the first to recover when things improve. So while your walking to your favorite restaurant, park or walking the kids to school, not only is your quality of life improved, by you can be secure in knowing that you’ve made the best possible investment in your home possible.


Bothell RiverFest August 30th

Sunday August 30th marks the 9th Annual Riverfest in Bothell. The event is FREE and will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Bothell between Main and NE 185th Street. Some of the events will be a car show, live music, local merchants market, hobby and volunteer expo along with a variety of fun events for the kids. So make sure to come out and participate and support your community!!! While your there take a stroll to two exciting new residential communities in downtown Bothell. Village Walk and Ross Road Townhomes located just a stones throw north of NE 185th  Street. Who knows maybe next year you can leave the car at home and walk to RiverFest and every that downtown Bothell has to offer!!!! 



Thursday, August 13, 2009

City of Kirkland gets 5th in America's Most Walkable Cities

The City of Kirkland was ranked 5th in walkable cities with a population of 500,000 or more by The article praises the City of Kirkland for their significant efforts to create a truly pedestrian friendly community. In fact, Kirkland was described as a “model of institutional pedestrian protection”.

The article also does a great job of outlining what makes a walkable city and thus what is so great about living in a walkable community. They are:

1. Compact and diverse development: A great example is the latest Kirkland Community “Nettelton Commons” Located near everything, this community has access to it all!!!

2. Places to walk: The Waterfront, Peter Kirk Park, Kirkland Library, Kirkland Performance Center, Shops and Restaurants, the list goes on and on….

3. No Impassable Barriers: The City of Kirkland was the first city in Washington State to adopt a Complete Streets Ordinance which provides for the design of streets that will enable safe access for all users.

4. Beauty: The City of Kirkland is one of the most scenic cities anywhere with it tree lined streets and one of a kind waterfront.

5. Safety: Among the many safety, traffic calming and other pedestrian improvements found throughout the city, Kirkland is credited with creating and implementing the pedestrian flag!!!! This program is now used throughout the U.S. and provides a safe and efficient way to move residents throughout the community.