On a scale of 0 to 100, Philadelphia averages a 74 for “walkability,” according to WalkScore.com. Not too shabby, considering people who live in walkable areas tend to be happier and healthier, says Josh Herst, CEO of Walk Score.
“Research shows it has to do with quality of life, and less time spent commuting,” Herst explains, citing a study done by the University of New Hampshire. “What they can get to nearby is one of the most important criteria for home shoppers.”
Plug in any address on WalkScore.com to get the location’s score and a map of nearby amenities, such as schools, grocery stores and restaurants. You’ll also get a Transit Score that calculates how accessible the address is to public transportation.
“For my buyers, walkability is almost equal to price as the most important criterion,” says Stephanie Somers, a Realtor at RE/MAX Access who focuses on Center City’s “fringe neighborhoods,” like Fishtown and Graduate Hospital. She lists Walk Scores for all the properties on her website.
“Being close to Center City comes up less often now,” she says. “The focus is more neighborhood-centric — people want to come home and be social right in their [area].”
A study from CEOs for Cities suggests that one Walk Score point is worth as much as $3,000 in home value. Another financial incentive of walkability? Gas money saved.
“People would rather leave their car at home and walk or use public transportation,” says Brian Douglas, a Realtor with Century 21 Advantage Gold. Like Somers’, his website includes a Walk Score for every listing. “Especially in a city like this, where parking is at a premium, walkability is a priority to buyers.”