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The Urban Premium: Walk Score Linked to Housing Prices

Posted By Angie Schmitt On May 18, 2012 @ 10:54 am In Network Roundup | 3 Comments


Looking at median housing prices and Walk Scores in more than 250 cities, Emily Washington found a clear correlation. Photo: Market Urbanism [2]

As part of her graduate studies, Emily Washington at Network blog Market Urbanism [2] set out to determine if people were willing to pay a premium for housing in a walkable urban setting. She developed two different models to see if there’s a link between housing prices and Walk Scores [3] in 259 cities. Wouldn’t you know it, she found a pretty clear connection. Washington shared the results of her research in a post yesterday [4] and is asking for feedback on her methodology:

I tested the impact of Walk Score on median house prices controlling for household income, unemployment, and cost of living. The sample includes 259 cities for which I had Walk Score data and Census data by Metropolitan Statistical Area for the other controls. The results suggest that for a one-point increase in Walk Score, we can expect a .5% increase in a cities’ median house price, and this result is statistically significant.

In another way of measuring the same question (an IV regression using the year the city was founded as the instrument), I found that a one-point increase in Walk Score can be expected to increase home prices by 3%. This result is also statistically significant, but I have less faith in this model.

For the most part, the other studies that I’ve seen of Walk Score’s relationship to house prices look at one city or a few cities and control for variables like a neighborhood’s crime rate [5] and housing quality [6]. While there are obvious advantages to these more detailed, local studies, I think the national view gets around the sample selection problems that make other results ungeneralizable.

Elsewhere on the Network today: An exhibit brings the trains rejected by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to Milwaukee, demonstrating what might have been if it weren’t for political antics, reports Urban Milwaukee [7]. BikeWalkLee [8] writes that a Fort Myers area women who fell asleep at the wheel and killed a local cyclist won’t face criminal charges. And Bike Portland [9] highlights some of the successes from the local political action committee dedicated to walking and biking issues.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://streetsblog.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/walk-score-corr-11.png

[2] Market Urbanism: http://marketurbanism.com/2012/05/17/some-empirical-evidence-on-preference-for-cities/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MarketUrbanism+%28Market+Urbanism%29

[3] Walk Scores: http://www.walkscore.com/

[4] in a post yesterday: http://marketurbanism.com/2012/05/17/some-empirical-evidence-on-preference-for-cities

[5] neighborhood’s crime rate: https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1794/10386/SustDataAnalysis_ReportOpt.pdf?sequence=1

[6] housing quality: http://www.ceosforcities.org/research/walking-the-walk

[7] Urban Milwaukee: http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2012/05/17/eyes-on-milwaukee-tour-the-talgo-trains-you-might-never-ride/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UrbanMilwaukee+%28Urban+Milwaukee%29

[8] BikeWalkLee: http://bikewalklee.blogspot.com/2012/05/no-criminal-charge-in-sanibel-causeway.html

[9] Bike Portland: http://bikeportland.org/2012/05/17/election-night-a-big-one-for-bike-walk-vote-pac-71827?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BikePortland+%28BikePortland.org%29

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