BAM Key Details 

  • According to NAR’s Community & Transportation Preferences Survey, 79% of respondents want to live in a walkable community, with the majority also willing to pay more living within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and transit. 
  • Over half of the respondents would be willing to give up a large yard or a single-family residence in order to live in a walkable community.

According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), many people dream about ditching their cars and lacing up their walking shoes.

No Cars, No Worries

In a world where your smartphone’s step count can sometimes be a status symbol, it’s no surprise that the preference for walkable communities is strong. While some people dreamed about more indoor and outdoor space during the initial stages of COVID, the demand for walkability remains high. 

According to the NAR’s 2023 Community & Transportation Preferences Survey, 79% of respondents want to be able to walk to shops, parks, and restaurants. In fact, 78% of respondents are even willing to pay a little more for the luxury of living within walking distance of their favorite places.

With COVID in our rearview mirror, this study shows that a substantial demand for walkability persists for Americans of all ages. NAR has conducted community preference surveys for over 20 years, providing Realtors® and their communities with valuable information on shifting American lifestyles and migration trends.

Kenny Parcell

President, National Association of Realtors®

Sidewalks for Easy Strolling

A staggering 85% of respondents thought sidewalks and places to walk were as crucial as a good Wi-Fi signal. Okay, they didn’t say that, but they did say that sidewalks and places to walk are very/somewhat important. 

But we’re not just strapping on our sneakers for a stroll to the local liquor store—65% of respondents also want to be close to public transport. 

Trading Space for Place

When it comes to housing choices, many are willing to trade space for place. Over half (56%) of respondents would swap a large yard for the convenience of walking to local attractions, while 44% would prefer a large yard—even if it means driving to most amenities. 

Even more telling of the demand for walkable communities is that 53% of respondents would be willing to share common walls with neighbors just to be able to walk to shops and restaurants and have a shorter commute. They would opt for a townhouse, condo, or apartment over a single-family home if it meant being able to walk to their favorite spots in town. 

The Final Step

So, what does all this mean? 

The desire to be close to amenities, embrace an active lifestyle, and contribute to less congested, more sustainable urban spaces is influencing consumer choices. And it seems people are more than willing to make some sacrifices for the convenience of being able to say, “I’ll just walk.”

Next time you pick up a listing in a “walkable community,” use it as a selling point! This approach may attract a lot more positive attention than you would expect.

For the full breakdown of the report, check out the NAR’s biannual Community & Transportation Preferences Survey here.