What Are Walkable Urban Areas and How Are They Affecting Real Estate?
From the mid to late 20th century there was a push from city working to suburbia living. Homeownership and starting a family was the American Dream for many working a typical 9-5. Because of city growth and space issues, Walkable Urban Areas are changing the way our communities are built and how we live in them.
What makes somewhere a walkable urban area is its convenience for people living there for work, transportation, food and lifestyle. These communities are perfect for a new influx of people coming into a neighborhood of a city for work or residence. Most WUAs start out with some residential development in stagnant areas with not much traffic. The new breath of residents inject money into the community in the form of spending, restaurants, supermarkets, new businesses, startups and other forms of lifestyle and culture. What's most important for these new residents is that their homes are close to either work or public transportation, where that is a very strong factor in deciding to live there.
A high density community like this brings higher tax revenues for a city compared to a neighborhood with strictly residential properties. Because these areas are densely populated, less land is used to develop these properties and tax revenue per square foot is higher. Schools see a huge boost in improvement because of all the new money put into them and new businesses spring up to cater to the neighborhood. This type of development is essentially more complex on a larger community level but cheaper than traditional development. Most cities are transitioning to this phase organically. Ten to fifteen years ago, there were few examples of these types of communities except for cities and city life.
What all of this means for real estate is that there is lower home ownership and higher commercial and rental development. Even for families that have multiple children, living in the city and tailoring this lifestyle is worth renting a new, luxurious spacious living environment. The generations pushing this development and change are millennials, resulting in a younger audience with more disposable income.