Study shows dense, walkable neighborhoods increase home values

New research from experts at the University of Washington suggests denser neighborhood development and pedestrian access might help increase single-family home values.

“The Economic Value of Walkable Neighborhoods,” which was published in the April issue of Urban Design International, counters the popular belief that neighborhoods tightly-packed with homes and offices can negatively impact property values.

The study was done by Anne Vernez Moudon, a UW professor of urban design and planning; Dong Wook Sohn of Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, who started the research as part of his UW doctoral dissertation; and Jeasun Lee, a UW graduate now at Yonsei University in Seoul.

Researchers used property values from areas of King County as a measure of economic value. They analyzed how the values related to pedestrian aids, such as access to open spaces and public transportation, as well as sidewalks and shorter street blocks.

They found that pedestrian access, along with a mix of commercial and residential properties, significantly increased multifamily rental property values.

According to a press release, lead researcher Moudon said that while the research has to be placed within the context of King County, she found it surprising, “that proximity to retail has a positive effect of multifamily rental properties, and that the value of retail properties benefited from strong pedestrian infrastructure.”

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