With the recent supply wave in the US the apartment market is starting to peak, with sales for apartment properties declining significantly by 43% during the first quarter of 2017 compared to the previous year. This is;by far the largest drop in sales volume across all property types.
The average rent growth for apartment properties also leveled off during the last few quarters. This was highly evident in CBDs, where developers typically offer a limited number of new units intended to target high-end luxury renters. Sales volume and rent growth have started to cool off across several in-demand multi-family markets across the US, compared to one year ago.
Despite the substantial volume of additional new units and flat apartment price growth at the market’s top end, apartment value growth has managed to hold fast during the past several quarters.
Apartments notching high walk scores are exceptions
One segment in the high-end urban apartment market however, seems to separate itself from the pack. The ones located in areas considered highly walkable.
Apartments in urban, walkable locations or those featuring close proximity to schools, businesses, parks, transit stations, restaurants, movie theaters and other common destinations showed an increase in year-over-year price paid per unit during the first quarter of 2017.
Walkability is a sought-after feature in most markets across the country these days. This is mainly due to more and more people looking for easier, more convenient travel options to get to where they often go, be it to their workplace or favorite entertainment or shopping destination.
In addition living in a walkable area also gives residents more freedom; you can get to the downtown area or head to cultural events on your own schedule and terms, as opposed to having to deal with heavy traffic or waiting for people other people to arrive on time.
What are some of the factors that make an environment walkable?
- Good selection of shops and services
- A well-connected network of streets featuring many pedestrian routes
- Good public transport options, promoting less reliance on private vehicles
- Recreational facilities that can accommodate residents of any age
- Reduced vehicular traffic, which can deter residents from walking
- Access to outdoor spaces, which can promote better physical and mental health
Benefits of walkable communities
Living in an area with a high walk score not only provides a very convenient lifestyle for residents, it offers other benefits as well:
- Affordability – Close proximity to the office, restaurants and services can help save hundreds of dollars per month in gas expenses.
- Better health – Residents in urban areas with high walk scores enjoy a healthier lifestyle, including lower blood pressure and reduced obesity compared to others living in rural areas. Walking may seem like a simple activity, but it’s effective in getting results.
- Cleaner, greener environment – With more residents walking or riding a bike to get to their destination, areas with high walk scores typically have lower gas emissions and reduced pollution levels.
More social interaction – Walkable communities offer plenty of opportunities to get out of the house and interact with other members of community; residents can easily get to dining venues, bars and community-wide events.