Street Corners vs. Cul de Sacs: Distant suburbs had the largest declines in home values, while prices in “close in” neighborhoods, typically those that were the most walkable, held up or, in a few cases, increased.
Real estate agents often chant the mantra “location, location, location,” which essentially means “find a home in a well-kept neighborhood with good schools and a low crime rate.”Some may cite a fourth factor, “walkability,” a concept supported by self-styled “new urbanists” who advocate denser cities designed for the pedestrian and mass transit as much as for the car. In their ideal neighborhood, you could walk to a bookstore and then to an ice cream shop, and your children could walk to school, probably unescorted. (It sounds like so many movie depictions of America in the 1950s.)They argue that walkability lowers crime — that good people on the streets drive away the bad guys — and that it generally improves life and sharply raises home values. Whether it helps homes retain their value when the market slumps, however, seems a harder question to answer.
By Damon Darlin, Jan. 10, 2010 NYT