Something quite transformational is going on here, something that belies the “American Dream.” The dream for many is no longer the house surrounded by a big lawn with a two (or three) car garage. That dream for many, is a nightmare. For many others, the ideal has shifted massively.
One of the fascinating new tools that has served to educate buyers about the type and quality of neighborhoods is the scoring system called Walk Score, which was created by a Seattle-based company calledwalkscore.com, and has spread across the country. The site evaluates neighborhoods by using a complex algorithm involving proximity to supermarkets, restaurants, medical services, and other things that people need on a daily basis. The methodology has been improving and now takes into account geographic discontinuities like freeways and ravines that make proximity more difficult.
So fast has Walk Score been brought into the mainstream that real estate agents across the country now advertise homes with their Walk Score indicated. The Brookings study made us of this mapping analysis to conduct its comprehensive assessment of various neighborhoods. High Walk Score neighborhoods are consistently coming out on top with respect to value per square foot. (To be fair, raw values in many suburban locations are still higher, but that is due mainly to the size of outlying properties.)
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