Determining the Value of Pedestrian Surfaces in Suburban DC

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Virginia Tech

Recent demographic studies suggest a shift in consumer preference away from auto-centric suburban housing to more walkable suburban communities. In response to these changes, efforts have been made to model the walkability of a location and determine its effect on the market value of both residential and commercial real estate. Existing walkability models have considered the importance of amenities and potential pedestrian routes, but have neglected to identify the importance of pedestrian surfaces such as sidewalks and trails as a proportion of the route traveled, and have typically modeled pedestrian movement using exclusively street or trail centerline data. The following paper uses a new walkability model to provide insight on the effect pedestrian surfaces along these amenity routes have on the market value of single family detached and semi-detached homes in Fairfax County, VA. It was found that increases in pedestrian surfaces along amenity routes had little to no effect on home value, but that 3.3%, 1.2 %, and 0.7 % price premiums existed for single family homes that had amenity paths of less than 1 mile to public transportation, public spaces, and recreational facilities, respectively. Price reductions of 3.0 % were discovered for homes that had amenity paths within 1 mile of retail locations.

walkability, real estate, economics, land development