What is a walk score and how does it impact the value of your home?

A “walk score” is a numerical value that is assigned to neighbourhoods or areas based on how easily assessible amenities are by foot. It’s an important consideration because it has ties to public health, community building and urban planning, environmental concerns and personal happiness.

The most commonly referenced organization that looks at walkability in Canadian cities in Walk Score, which is now owned by the real estate company RedFin. Walk Score assigns a number between 0 to 100 as a measure of walkability, with the following breakdown:

• 90-100 = Walker’s Paradise (Daily errands do not require a car)
• 70-89 = Very Walkable (Most errands can be accomplished on foot)
• 50-69 = Somewhat walkable (Some amenities within walking distance)
• 25 – 49 = Car-dependent (A few amenities within walking distance)
• 0-24 = Car-dependent (Almost all errands require a car)

Walkability is tied to better health, with the average resident who lives in a walkable area weighing up to 10 pounds less than those who live in car-dependent neighbourhoods and having better cardiovascular health. It’s also good for the environment, as more than 85% of CO2 emissions come from burning fossil fuels – walking is the perfect zero-pollution transportation! An area that’s known to be walkable also tends to have a great sense of community and is linked to higher levels of arts and culture organizations.

So, what does this mean for the value of your home?

One point of Walk Score is worth up to $3,250 of value for your property, according to recent research. That’s because the homes are considered more desirable, based on the aforementioned reasons. Around two per cent of active listings in major cities are considered the highest level “walker’s paradise” but more than half of millennials and 46% of baby boomers indicate that they prefer to live in a walkable area.

If you are curious about the walk score your neighbourhood or area you are looking to purchase in, you can type the address into Walk Score’s search bar and find out the number.

The most walkable neighbourhoods in Edmonton are: McCauley, Downtown and Alberta Avenue.

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