Demand in Car-Dependent Areas Outpaces Walkable Neighborhoods

August 29, 2019
walking on sidewalk
Photo: Unsplash/Arek Adeoye

Home-sale prices are growing faster in car-dependent neighborhoods than they are in walkable areas as buyers search for affordability, Redfin reports.

Home-sale prices in walkable neighborhoods across the country increased 2.3 percent year over year to a median $343,900 in July, compared to 4.3 percent annual growth to a median $312,100 for homes in car-dependent areas. 

Prices have been rising faster in car-dependent neighborhoods than in walkable neighborhoods since September 2018, around the time the overall market began to cool. For at least the four years prior, home prices generally increased faster in walkable neighborhoods than in car-dependent ones. The trend reversal likely reflects that many homebuyers, chasing affordability, have been priced out of the most walkable neighborhoods. As a result, demand has grown stronger in car-dependent neighborhoods. 

“In the second half of 2018, homes in the hottest coastal markets became so expensive that most homebuyers became priced out of walkable neighborhoods, where homes tend to sell at a premium,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “It’s not that people value walkability any less than they used to. Many homebuyers are simply relegated by their budgets to live in car-dependent areas, which have since seen demand and home prices grow at a faster rate. The trend also has implications for society, with families becoming further segregated by class and race, as well as for the environment, as more demand in car-dependent areas means more carbon emissions. Growing cities can combat these issues by adopting policies that encourage building more dense, affordable housing in walkable areas.”

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