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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 2 years ago

Young homebuyers find walkable communities to be all the rage

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Steers young homebuyers
by: Orlando Regional Realtor Association

Most potential homebuyers are not only looking for the perfect home, they are also looking for the perfect neighborhood. According to the National Association of Realtors 2015 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey, when Americans think of their dream neighborhood they often think of a mixed-used, walkable community.

“Realtors are community builders and understand the complexities that go into creating a strong and successful community,” says Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Sharon Voss, Watson Realty Corp. “While there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all neighborhood, more and more Americans, especially younger ones, are being drawn to mixed-use communities with a combination of homes and business and walkable areas.”

Walkability is defined as a measure of how friendly an area is to walking. Can someone go grocery shopping on foot? Are there shops and restaurants within walking distance? Are there plenty of sidewalks, and are they well maintained? These are all factors taken into account when determining an area’s walkability.

According to the survey, millennials, those aged 18 to 34, prefer walking as a method of transportation by 12 percentage points over driving. Millennials are also the generation most likely to make sacrifices to purchase a home in these types of communities, such as buying a smaller home or buying a house without a backyard.

“Younger buyers are looking for communities where they can walk to a restaurant and don’t have to drive to pick up their weekly groceries,” Voss said. “However, it is not only millennials who are hoping to move into walkable neighborhoods; these preferences are seen across generations.”

Based on the survey, women of all generations are more likely than men to show a preference for walkability, with 61 percent saying that the availability of sidewalks in a community with stores and restaurants to walk to is very important to them. And 48 percent of all respondents answered that they would prefer to live in communities containing houses with small yards but within easy walking distance of the community’s amenities rather than living in communities with houses that have large yards but are driving distance to all amenities.

“As their preferences shift from the suburbs to urban centers, homebuyers continue to rely on Realtors to help them find their dream homes and neighborhoods,” Voss said. “Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of local markets and conditions, helping their clients to fulfill their real estate goals.”

Visit orlandorealtors.org for more information or to locate a Central Florida Realtor to assist with your next real estate transaction.

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