The Walkability Factor
A topic very relevant in the real estate market, yet often I find this is a feature not always played to its strengths within property marketing, is it being forgotten, if so why and what is this strange word describing?
This word summarises how quick and easy, or how long and arduous it maybe to walk to any local amenities, if it is the later then walkabilty arguably doesn’t really apply. The term should highlight a home where facilities are genuinely perceived as close by and within walking distance. That distance is subjective, an active sporty type may power walk this in 10 minutes. Longer for the more mature, less gym attending types, such as myself and try suggesting walking to a teenager!
Admittedly if you are living the tree change dream or on sprawling acreage, you didn’t buy to expecting to walk to amenities, strolling around your own land will suffice. For us urban and suburban types it is a hugely important factor; I refuse to buy a home anywhere without exploring the walkability factor.
The more urban you are the more facilities you should expect to be able to walk to, the more suburban the location that expectation is reduced. I’ve always used the 20 minute rule. Under 20 minutes it can be perceived as easily walkable for a typical adult, 25/30 minutes is pushing that boundary, longer does not constitute walkability. Of course most can walk for hours, but not to a bus stop, café or to get milk! Not only distance comes into play but the range of destinations themselves. The 10 minute walk to a local park and nothing else is not sufficient, you need to add in a convenience store/coffee shop, school, kindy plus a form of public transport point to genuinely fall into the walkability category.
Could this lack of interest be due to our astonishingly accurate and efficient online mapping we all have access to? A tap on the screen can reveal exactly how long right now it will take to travel from A to B by car, on foot, utilising public transport or attached to the underside of a drone ( still in the a planning stages I believe) the last element of course is not true YET!
Whilst tech mapping is amazing I think as buyers we really want to know the walkability factor of a homes location. Occasionally suburb review sites score a location’s walkability wish is so positive. Buying a home or investment always research this element, the more walkability a home has the more attractive it can be to a future buyer. Always research the stroll before you buy!
Andrew Winter is one of Australia's most respected and popular real estate authors and commentators, News Limited property journalist and host of Selling Houses Australia, Love It or List It, and Tiny Houses Australia.
Andrew's latest property show, Love It or List It, with co-host Neale Whittaker is no less compelling as the duo help property owners grapple with the option of renovating and staying out - or selling up and moving on from their family home.
Andrew is a straight-talking character with a wealth of experience in real estate marketing and investing and is instantly recognisable to any regular Foxtel viewer or News Limited reader.