Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 4, 2015

Survey says young buyers prefer walkable communities


Travis Close

Most potential homebuyers are not only looking for the perfect home, they’re also looking for the perfect neighborhood. According to the National Association of Realtors 2015 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey, when Americans think of their dream neighborhood, they often think of a mixed-used, walkable community.

In Greater Chattanooga, we’re seeing evidence of this trend. Consider the continued demand for residential and commercial space in Downtown, North Chattanooga, South Side, and St. Elmo, to name a few.

Realtors are community builders, and understand the complexities that go into creating a strong and successful community. While there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all neighborhood, more and more Americans, especially younger ones, are being drawn to mixed-use communities with a combination of homes and business and walkable areas.

Walkability is defined as a measure of how friendly an area is to walking. Can someone go grocery shopping on foot? Are there shops and restaurants within walking distance? Are there plenty of sidewalks, and are they well maintained? These are all factors taken into account when determining an area’s walkability.

According to the survey, millennials (those aged 18 to 34) prefer walking as a method of transportation by 12 percentage points over driving. Millennials are also the generation most likely to make sacrifices to purchase a home in these types of communities, such as buying a smaller home or buying a house without a backyard.

Younger buyers are looking for communities where they can walk to a restaurant and don’t have to drive to pick up their weekly groceries. However, it’s not only millennials who are hoping to move into walkable neighborhoods; these preferences are seen across generations.

Based on the survey, women of all generations are more likely than men to show a preference for walkability, with 61 percent saying the availability of sidewalks in a community with stores and restaurants to walk to is very important to them. And 48 percent of all respondents answered that they would prefer to live in communities containing houses with small yards but within easy walking distance of the community’s amenities rather than living in communities with houses that have large yards but are driving distance to all amenities.

As their preferences shift from the suburbs to urban centers, homebuyers continue to rely on Realtors to help them find their dream homes and neighborhoods. Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information, and have unparalleled knowledge of local markets and conditions, helping their clients to fulfill their real estate goals.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,500 members, and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors serves Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net.