How important is it for you to live and work in an area where everything you love to do and see is within a couple blocks' reach? According to Redfin's Walk Score, a city's walkability is becoming increasingly important to buyers and renters. This is good news for Philadelphia which ranked number 4 on Walk Score's most walkable cities of 2015 report.
With an overall Walk Score of 76.5, Philadelphia ranked ahead of other large cities like Chicago, Washington D.C., Seattle and Baltimore. New York City is considered the most walkable city with a score of 87.6, but San Francisco (83.9) and Boston (79.5) and Philadelphia were not too far behind.
To calculate the rankings, Walk Score analyzed over 10 million locations and computed more than 2 billion walking routes for 2,500 U.S. cities. For the second year in a row, the Walk Score ranking uses the Street Smart Walk Score algorithm that incorporates walking routes, depth of choice, pedestrian friendliness, population and neighborhood data. Walkability is about convenience, quality of life and everything outside the four walls of a house.
According to Rachel Musiker, a spokesperson for Walk Score, Philadelphia saw an increase of two points since 2011. "Our algorithm takes in account whether there are restaurants, coffee shops, dry cleaners and other amenities nearby and we use local data sources to track density in different neighborhoods."
"Philadelphia's score means that you can walk to an average of four restaurants within five minutes," she added. "What we have been hearing here at Redfin is that what people want in a home is location. As real estate prices are rising, a lot of buyers are searching for homes that are affordable, but also rank high on the walkability score. On the weekends, people want to spend more time closer to home."
Jimmy Caraway, a Philadelphia's buyer's agent with Redfin, has found that for the buyers that he works with walkability ranks high among the criteria they are looking at when considering a move.
"I have a lot of customers who don't have cars, so it is very important that they can easily get around. They are also interested in selling and renting parking spots that come with their place because they have no use for them," he said.
"Everywhere in the city is pretty easily accessible by walking or public transportation which is important for people outside the city to understand. The city has made a lot of effort to consider the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in city development."
Each neighborhood also received a ranking. Fishtown where Caraway lives scored a 91. "My family has one car which is used only to go see family in the suburbs. I spend a lot of time walking Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Queens Village – all across the city, selling property along the way," he added.
Caraway believes that walking is a lifestyle. It influences his job and he has seen a lot of interest during his walking tours from customers who want to move into walkable neighborhoods.
"A big part of the walking lifestyle is also cost savings. People can save $400-$500 a month when factoring in monthly car payments, insurance and parking tickets. When you live near the people and place you enjoy the most, you can spend less time and money on transit and more time doing what you love."
Find out how your neighborhood ranked here.
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