These Are the 10 Most Walkable Cities of 2017

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New York, San Francisco and Boston remain the most walkable large cities in the U.S., according to the latest Walk Score® annual ranking. Miami, which saw its Walk Score rating increase by one point since last year, has surpassed Philadelphia to become the fourth-most walkable city.  Unlike last year, no new cities cracked the top 10.

Rank City Walk Score Change from 2016
1 New York 89.2 +0.3
2 San Francisco 86.0 +0.4
3 Boston 80.9 +0.2
4 Miami 79.2 +1.0
5 Philadelphia 79.0 +0.7
6 Chicago 77.8 +0.3
7 Washington D.C. 77.3 +0.4
8 Seattle 73.1 +0.2
9 Oakland 72.0 +0.5
10 Long Beach 69.9 +0.9

New York City has maintained the No. 1 spot on the list once again. Since Walk Score updated its algorithm in 2014, New York reigns as the king of walkability, and its Walk Score now sits at an all-time high of 89.2.

The nation’s most walkable cities are becoming even more walkable. Of the top 50 most walkable cities only one, Omaha, Nebraska, saw its Walk Score decline, and it only decreased 0.3 points from last year.

Walk Score measures the walkability of a location based on its distance from amenities, density of population, block length and pedestrian friendliness. The annual ranking identifies the most walkable U.S. cities with populations of more than 300,000.

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Changes in the Top Five

Miami’s steady increase in walkability can be attributed to builders and city officials embracing the idea of densely populated neighborhoods.

“Developers are seeing an overall trend in people who desire to live, work and play within the same neighborhood,” said Aaron Drucker, a Redfin real estate agent in Miami. “Developers have focused on popular, urban neighborhoods like Wynwood, Midtown, Brickell, South Beach and Coconut Grove, constructing high rises, multi-family homes and condominiums.This has led to population increases, creating density that didn’t exist in Miami years ago.”

Despite Philadelphia’s drop in rank, the city’s walkability continues to increase. The city of brotherly love saw its Walk Score increase from 78.3 last year to 79.0 in 2017.

“Some main retail arteries that run through hot residential areas are experiencing a huge renaissance,” said Philadelphia Redfin agent Jennifer Seal. “The likelihood that there’s a new grocery store, coffee shop or even spinning studio within blocks of many Philadelphia homes has greatly increased in recent years.”

Changes in the Top 50

Fresno, California experienced a healthy surge, moving up two places in the top 50 and increasing its Walk Score from 45.1 in 2016 to 46.3 this year. Also making moves in 2017 is El Paso, Texas with an impressive leap from 40.0 to 41.5. The Virginia neighborhood in El Paso was named one of Texas’ 10 most walkable neighborhoods.

Columbus, Ohio dropped three places from 38th to 41st most walkable city in the country this year; still the Ohio capital remains in the top 50 with a Walk Score® of 40.7. St. Louis (64.5), Dallas (46.2), Omaha (45.1), Aurora (42.6) and Riverside (41.3) were the other cities to drop rank in the top 50, albeit only one spot each.

Why Walkability Matters

Our goal at Redfin and Walk Score is to help people find the right home, not just any home, and what often makes a home “right” is location. Walkability is about convenience, quality of life and everything outside the four walls of a house. When you live near the people and places you enjoy most, you can spend less time and money on transit and more time doing what you love.

For the full ranking of America’s most walkable cities, click here. To see how your home fares in terms of walkability, get your score here. If you’re looking to buy, Redfin features Walk Score on listings of homes for sale. Renters can use Walk Score’s Apartment Search tfind a rental home in a walkable neighborhood.

Methodology

To calculate the rankings, Walk Score analyzed over 10 million locations and computed more than 2 billion walking routes for 2,500 U.S. cities. The Walk Score algorithm incorporates walking routes, the number of nearby amenities (e.g. restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores), respective distance to those amenities, pedestrian friendliness, population and neighborhood boundary data.

How Much is One Point of Transit Score Worth?

Homes with great transit access are extremely rare in U.S. cities. Less than one percent of homes that are listed for sale today are considered to be in a rider’s paradise (Transit Score of 90 and above). Yet in a survey of more than 1,300 people who bought a home last year, more than one in five said they wish they had paid more attention to the length of their commute from their new homes.To estimate how much transit access is worth when buying or selling a home, Redfin looked at the sale prices and Transit Score ratings of more than one million homes sold between January 2014 and April 2016 across 14 major metro areas.Here are the price premiums of one point of Transit Score on a home, grouped by metro area.
 Metro Area Transit Score  Median Sale Price $ Premium of 1 Transit Score Point on Median Home Price % Premium of 1 Transit Score Point  on Median Home Price
Atlanta 44  $168,000 $1,901 1.13%
Baltimore 58  $229,900 $226 0.10%
Boston 74  $325,000 $3,585 1.10%
Chicago 65  $220,000 $1,731 0.79%
Denver 47  $285,000 $1,366 0.48%
Los Angeles 51  $475,000 $3,095 0.65%
Oakland 55  $523,000 $2,816 0.54%
Orange County 27  $580,000 $(201) -0.03%
Phoenix 32  $204,900 $291 0.14%
Portland 51  $275,000 $1,338 0.49%
San Diego 37  $449,000 $786 0.18%
San Francisco 80  $950,000 $4,845 0.51%
Seattle 57  $375,000 $3,360 0.90%
Washington DC 71  $360,000 $3,457 0.96%

On average, across the 14 metros analyzed, one Transit Score point can increase the price of a home by $2,040. But the price premium varies widely from metro to metro. One point of Transit Score in Atlanta bumps up the price of a home over one full percentage point, or $1,901.  

“It’s easy to see a value premium for a home located near one of the main commuter lines in the metro area because walkability and access to public transportation are relatively rare in Atlanta,” said Redfin real estate agent Rory Haigler. “Atlanta is known for its traffic, so more and more, I’m working with homebuyers who want to be closer to a train or bus line for commuting to and from work. Some people even commute from the suburbs to park near a transit line to get into the metro area because it is easier than driving.”

In Orange County, the effect is small, but being convenient to public transportation actually makes a home less valuable, by $200 for an average home.

“Most people in Orange County prefer to drive their own cars; few would consider any other way to get around,” said Redfin real estate agent Keith Thomas Jr.  “Parking is easy to come by and traffic isn’t bad, so it makes sense that public transit doesn’t impact the price of a home the way it would in a more urban area like L.A.”

“Transit is an important building block to economic mobility,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson.  “The more that cities invest in good transit the bigger financial impact for homeowners and the better access families of all incomes have to jobs and public amenities. Transit is an economic win-win for communities.”

These estimates compare homes by controlling for differences in property and neighborhood characteristics, including property size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age of the building, type of property (single-family, condo or townhouse), neighborhood median income and total employment, and controls for market conditions (appreciation over time) are also built into the model. In all metro areas, a home located in a more transit-friendly neighborhood was more expensive than the same home in a less transit-friendly location, with the exception of Orange County.

Click here to see Redfin’s 2016 report on the top 10 U.S. cities for public transit.

Analysis by Sheharyar Bokhari, Researcher for The MIT Center for Real Estate:

Methodology

To estimate how much market value homebuyers implicitly attach to a higher Transit Score, Redfin used a hedonic regression. This type of modelling is like a “comps” analysis done by real estate appraisers. The regression makes an apples-to-apples comparison between properties by controlling for different characteristics, to compare the prices of properties with different Transit Scores, “all else being equal.”

The same set of sample properties and the same hedonic regression method was used in a 2016 Walk Score study. Both this study and the 2016 study were inspired by a 2009 study, “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S Cities” by Joe Cortright of Impressa, Inc. The variables used in this analysis are similar to those in the 2009 study with the exception of distance to a central business district, which was unavailable for our data. In addition, Redfin also controlled for historical real estate market conditions.

The Best Cities for Living Without a Car

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Image via iStock

What makes a city livable? People have differing views, but for many city-dwellers, proximity to restaurants, grocery stores, parks and jobs are some of the key perks of urban living, especially if those destinations are accessible without a car. According to recent Redfin research, the construction of parking spaces for residential properties is starting to wane, as is the number of families who own two cars. And as traffic concerns and commute times rise across the country, many people are opting out of car ownership entirely.

Redfin compiled the latest Walk Score rankings to see which U.S. cities with populations greater than 300,000 have the highest composite Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score rankings. These are places where you could forgo having a car and still be able to get around town in a variety of ways, whether it be by foot, bike or public transit. And while not all cities are created equal, each of these 10 cities has infrastructure to support a car-free lifestyle.

Ranking

1. San Francisco

Even though San Francisco takes second place in every category (walking, biking and transit) the overall score is the highest in the nation. This isn’t a surprise to Redfin agents. “It’s true that most people in San Francisco don’t own cars. It’s said that if you want to own a home that has parking, plan on adding about $300,000 to the cost of your home,” said Redfin real estate agent Mia Simon. “The good news is that nearly every neighborhood in San Francisco is walkable and the BART and MUNI can basically get you anywhere you need to go. It’s very common for prospective buyers to schedule a series of home tours and travel between tours on foot and via public transit to get a feel for what life would be like at their new home without a car.”

2. New York

New York has the highest Walk Score and Transit Score rankings in the nation. Its Bike Score, on the other hand, falls to seventh place. “Even with the bike-share programs accelerating across the city, many streets don’t have special bike lanes and traffic is a deterrent for many people who might otherwise consider biking,” said Redfin agent Jonathan Makolondra. “That said, New Yorkers are certainly accustomed to getting around the city and surrounding boroughs without a car. The MTA subway system is extensive and walking is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the city.”

3. Boston

It turns out that Boston is a great city for every mode of transportation that doesn’t involve a car. The city ranks third in the nation for Bike,Transit and Walk Score. “In general, Boston is just a really easy city to get around without a car,” said Redfin agent Megan McShane. “In addition to being known as ‘America’s Walking City,’ the T provides access to all the most popular neighborhoods via subway, bus, trolley and boat, and the commuter rail services the outlying suburbs.”

4. Washington D.C.

From Arlington to Silver Spring, the D.C. area has the fourth highest ranking in the nation with a Transit Score of 70. “The METRO provides a lot of routes into the city from various suburbs and within the city there are also plentiful bus routes,” said Redfin agent Dan Galloway. “Biking is really on the rise too. Capital Bikeshare now has 400 stations across the city and more bike lanes and routes have been popping up,” while organizations such as Bike Arlington strive to further increase the popularity of biking in the area. “The city also has plenty of walkable neighborhoods like Dupont Circle, Georgetown and Downtown/Chinatown.”

5. Philadelphia

Philadelphia has the fourth highest Walk Score in the nation and it turns out that it’s becoming more walkable as builders focus on creating walkable new construction throughout the city. “Redfin agents have noticed that a lot of walkable homes are being built in neighborhoods like Northern LibertiesFishtownFrankfordSouth Philly and Point Breeze,” said Redfin agent Tom Lewis. “In addition to great walkability, the city offers plenty of public transportation options as well. Philly is also known as one of the top cities in the nation for bike commuters.”

6. Chicago

“Especially if you live in neighborhoods close to the Loop, a car isn’t necessary in Chicago. Lincoln Park, River North, the South Loop – they’re all worlds unto their own, where you can walk to everything you need,” said Redfin agent Jenn Kim. “Should you want to get out of your neighborhood, the El is a great option, plus the city’s invested a lot in its biking infrastructure. In the summer, the Divvy bike-share program is popular, and it’s not uncommon to see large groups of people cycling home via Milwaukee Avenue during the evening commute.”

7. Minneapolis

“Last year Minneapolis was the only U.S. city on a worldwide list of bike-friendly cities. Mayor Betsy Hodges’ administration has emphasized building more protected bikeways to traverse town, and there’s always the old favorites like the Chain of Lakes trails and the Midtown greenway,” said Redfin agent James Garry. “Add to that a growing light rail system, on-time buses and vibrant neighborhoods like Uptown and Dinkytown, where you can walk to everything you need, and it should be no surprise to see Minneapolis on this list.”

8. Miami

“Even though Miami ranks high for walkability with a Walk Score of 78, its Bike and Transit Scores leave a little more to be desired. With a Bike Score of 60, two wheels probably won’t take the place of four wheels any time soon, but that said, there are neighborhoods like Downtown and Little Havana where cycling is a viable transportation option,” said Redfin agent Cecilia Cordova.  “If you’d prefer to get around town via public transit, there are several options including the Metrorail that runs from West to South Miami crossing through Downtown.”

9. Seattle

“The expansion of the light rail up to Capitol Hill and the University District and the recently approved light rail extension plan indicate that Seattle’s Transit Score could be improving within the next year or two, potentially making Seattle an even friendlier city for those who’d like a car-free commute or lifestyle,” said Redfin agent Kyle Moss. “The bus system also offers great options for commuters and travelers alike, and neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Belltown and Madison Park are really fun, lively places to walk around. For those who love to bike, Seattle also has some fantastic bike trails, many of them scenic like the Burke-Gilman.”

10. Oakland

“Oakland doesn’t fall short when it comes to public transportation,” said Redfin agent Mia Simon. “The BART and A C Transit are both good options for navigating the city. In addition, the Trans-Bay express bus just makes a few stops and then heads directly to San Francisco. There’s also a ferry from Jack London Square if you prefer traveling by water. Neighborhoods like  Rockridge and Uptown, Lake Merrit/Grand are all super walkable. There are also 13 neighborhoods with a Bike Score above 90, making them a biker’s paradise!”

More Walk Score Data in More Ways

At Walk Score we’re committed to helping people find walkable places to live with easy access to the people and places they love. As part of our ongoing effort to make more data available to more people, we’re excited to announce the expansion of our API offerings. Based on user feedback, we’re now offering Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score in a single API. Additionally, for the first time ever you will be able to add a Score Details report to your website with our Score Details API, making it easier for visitors to your site to understand their Walk Score.

Score API example:

Use the Walk Score API to get the Walk Score, Transit Score and for the first time ever, Bike Score for any location. Allow visitors to your website to search for or filter properties by Walk Score. Transit Score is available in 500+ cities and Bike Score is available in 150+ cities.
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Score Details API example:

The Score Details Report explains the Walk Score of a location and shows which categories are more or less walkable. For example, a home or apartment might have great walkability for restaurants and shopping but not for parks and schools. We use the Score Details API on walkscore.com to provide users with insight into their Walk Score and now we’re making this data available to add to your website and mobile apps.

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Public Transit API example:

Transit data is available from 350+ transit agencies with more data being added all the time. Display the distance from your listings to nearby transit stops or enable search near transit on your site.

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Travel Time API example:

Many Walk Score users are familiar with our Travel Time API shown here in use on Walk Score Apartment Search. We’re pleased to announce the official return of this hidden gem. Use the Travel Time API on your site to rapidly calculate travel times between places and visualize travel times on a map. Engage your site visitors by allowing them to explore their commute time. 

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Sign up for an API key or contact us to get started.

Walkability, Real Estate and Public Health Data

In addition to expanding our API offerings, we’re also making more data available for analysts and researchers.

Opportunity Score:

Opportunity Score assigns an address a rating, from zero to 100, that represents how easy it is to get to nearby jobs without a car. Scores also consider the local population to reflect the fact that places with more people likely have more competition for local jobs. Opportunity Score data is now available in a spreadsheet.

Predictive Analysis

We’re also excited to announce a custom predictive analysis service to help developers and planners assess the impact of proposed development. The scope of the analysis can be tailored to your unique needs including the impact on Walk Score, walkshed and amenity access and depth of choice.

Contact us to learn more about using Walk Score data in your research and analysis.

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The 10 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Mid-Size Bay Area Cities

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Most people aren’t surprised when they hear that San Francisco is one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. With a walk score of 86, the city of S.F. is chock-full of charming neighborhoods, trendy restaurants and loads of amenities, but, with a median sale price of $1.25 million, it also happens to be the most expensive place to live in the nation. So, Redfin set out to see how neighborhoods in other smaller (and often more affordable) Bay Area cities compare when it comes to walkability.

According to our calculations based on Walk Score data, Berkeley is the winner among Bay Area mid-size cities, when it comes to having the most walkable neighborhoods. Not only did downtown Berkeley nail first place, with the high Walk Score of 96, but it also had two additional neighborhoods land in the top 10. After ordering the list of neighborhoods based on their Walk Score ratings, we had our local Redfin agents chime in with insights on what makes these neighborhoods unique. We’ve also included median sale prices, so you can see how the neighborhoods compare when it comes to affordability, too.

Here are the 10 most walkable neighborhoods in the Bay Area:

1.  Downtown, Berkeley: Walk Score of 96

Median Sale Price: $681K

“Downtown Berkeley is a unique area in that it is a fully functioning downtown with a large university just one block off the main strip. Having the University of California, Berkeley so close to downtown offers many amenities for people there such as the UC Botanical Garden, and the UC Berkeley Art Museum. Shattuck Ave. is the main street and houses many loved restaurants and shops such as the top rated New Orleans inspired Cajun Kitchen and Pegasus Bookstore Downtown. This area is especially unique because of the culture, the access to everything within walking distance and the combination of housing offered; from student housing through the university, to apartments, to traditional single family homes,” said Redfin Agent Tom Hendershot.

2. Downtown, San Rafael: Walk Score of 93

Median Sale Price: $863K

San Rafael is known for being the oldest, largest and most culturally diverse city in Marin County. According to theVisit San Rafael page, the central plaza has become a community gathering place for events such as their Thursday night farmers market. “There are about four blocks wide, and 10 blocks long with all kinds of different amenities in the downtown area. Locals enjoy the Puerto Rican restaurant, Sol Food and going to State Room Bar or the local movie theater for a night out on the town. Downtown San Rafael is centrally located, making it easy for locals to walk to the grocery store, the transit system or anything else they might need,” says Redfin Agent Benjamin Faber.

3. Downtown, San Mateo: Walk Score of 93

Median Sale Price: $974K

“A major perk of this area is that it’s an affordable neighborhood, with great access to the Caltrain station. Transportation is everything here; it is an easy walk to the main station from any point of Downtown San Mateo,” says Redfin Agent Matthew Weller. “People enjoy going to Three Restaurant and Bar for brunch, or dinner and drinks. There are classic old shops that have been here for more than 30 years mixed in with many brand-new places, making it a great place for diverse and unique shopping options. In the midst of change, San Mateo has preserved its old culture and family roots.”

4. Southside, Berkeley: Walk Score of 93

Median Sale Price: $1.02M

“One of the major benefits of Southside Berkeley is the easy access to transportation. There is a BART station centrally located that is close to most houses. This neighborhood has all of the bonuses of being in Berkeley, but still has some affordable options compared to other parts of the city. Southside’s many parks, like Willard Park, make it very enjoyable to walk in on a sunny day. The neighborhood is full of young professionals, and is an up-and-coming place to live,” according to  Redfin Agent Tom Hendershot.

5. Downtown, Burlingame: Walk Score of 90

Median Sale Price: $1.09M

“Burlingame’s main street, Burlingame Ave., offers many options to people looking for shopping, such as J. Crew, Pottery Barn and Lululemon. Plus lots of places to eat like Blue Line Pizza, Peet’s Coffee and more. The area has a rare combination of beautiful large homes, highly ranked schools, a low crime rating and easy walkability to the downtown area,” said Redfin Agent Mia Simon. “The convenience of being able to live in a small city, and walk to a lot of commercial places makes Burlingame a destination for people to live.”

6. North Berkeley, Berkeley: Walk Score of 89

Median Sale Price: $1M

“Northside Berkeley has easy access to The Gourmet Ghetto, which is just along Shattuck Ave. and Vine Street. Here you can find a collection of unique shops, sidewalk cafes, bakeries and popular restaurants like Cheese Board Pizza. The Gourmet Ghetto offers endless options for locals. The convenience factor, classic architecture, parks and highly ranked schools make this a great place to live without having to own a car,” according to Redfin Agent Tom Hendershot.”

7. Staumbaugh-Heller, Redwood City: Walk Score of 89

Median Sale Price: $820K

“Redwood City is known for its great weather, because of its high number of sunny days and for not having the San Francisco fog. The Staumbaugh-Heller neighborhood has recently invested in revitalizing the area and improving the infrastructure. One of the recent changes was to the park, Jarden De Ninos. The park now has a selection of play structures, swings and picnic tables that locals can reserve for parties or events. Just a short walk from the neighborhood is the downtown Redwood City area, where you can find a variety of shops from small antique stores to larger brand-name stores. All the nearby amenities make this a popular place for families,” said Redfin Agent Kalena Masching.

8. Downtown, Concord: Walk Score 89

Median Sale Price: $367K

According to the Downtown Concord website, the city is working to make some changes to the area and make it great place for its residents to live. The Downtown Concord Specific Plan Project is working with long term and short term projects to integrate housing, jobs, retail and transportation into the area to make it a better and thriving downtown.

Redfin Agent Chris Amsden says, “Downtown Concord is in the midst of change, but still retains a lot of history. The homes here have been around for a long time, and show a lot of history because of it. There have been many changes over time and I suspect that we’ll continue to see this neighborhood evolve.”

9.  West Washington, Albany: Walk Score of 88

Median Sale Price: $905K

“This area has a nice price point, potential for great views of the city and highly ranked schools. The transit station is centrally located and is just a short walk from most houses here. West Washington is a very family oriented neighborhood and has great nearby schools, which is a huge draw for this area. Locals can easily walk to a variety of restaurants and grocery stores like Trader Joe’s,” according to Redfin Agent Tom Hendershot.

10. Centennial, Redwood City: Walk Score of 88

Median Sale Price: $950K

“The Redwood City Centennial neighborhood shares the same great weather, and same downtown area as the Staumbaugh-Heller neighborhood. In addition to a plethora of sunny days, locals can access all the downtown amenities within a five minute walk. The Centennial neighborhood itself has a good mix of housing options, from bungalow-style homes to  contemporary condo developments. The neighborhood also has some nearby schools including a high school and a Marin Day school. With the Stanford Medical Campus being in Redwood City and an abundance of government jobs being added to this area, more people are starting to consider Centennial as a possible place to live,” says Redfin Agent Kalena Masching.

Walk Score Methodology: Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities to determine a neighborhood’s Walk Score, which is a number between 0 and 100.  Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. A decay function is used to give points to more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30 minute walk. Walk Score also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics such as block length and intersection density. For this particular list, Walk Score analyzed the most highly ranked neighborhoods in cities in the Bay Area with populations under 300,000.

The Top 10 Most Bikeable Downtowns

These cities are doing the most to make biking to work safe and convenient

 

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Reposted from Redfin.com.

A big consideration for people as they choose a home is their commute to work every day, so what better way to celebrate this year’s Bike to Work Week than by highlighting the cities with the most bikeable downtowns?

We looked at Bike Score ratings of downtown neighborhoods across the country to see which cities offer the best biking commutes for their residents, and reached out to their local government officials to find out what they have done to reach such high scores. We also talked to our agents and found out that bikeability is not going unnoticed for local homebuyers who increasingly factor a daily bike commute into their home search.

To see the full ranking of the top 10 most bikeable downtowns among major cities with more than 500,000 people, as well as information on local bike-focused transportation initiatives, take a look at the report below.

1. Center City West, Philadelphia, Pa. – 96.4

Center City West, the heart of Downtown Philadelphia, topped our list with a 96.4 Bike Score. Redfin agent Minh Che says the city’s urban dwellers increasingly use a combination of bicycling, public transit and car-sharing programs to navigate downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

“It’s not uncommon for my home-buying clients to bike from one home to the next during home tours or on a weekend open house outing,” said Che. “For a couple of recent clients, a garage was a must-have, not to park cars, but to store bikes. Buyers today see bike routes and bike storage as an important amenity, more so than previous generations.”

The city has more than 440 miles of bike lanes, according to Mayor Jim Kenney’s Deputy Managing Director for Transportation and Infrastructure, Clarena Tolson, giving Philadelphia the most bike lanes per square mile of any large city in the country. And in downtown specifically, she says nearly 5 percent of people use a bicycle as their main form of transportation.

In addition to increasing downtown bike lanes, the city is expanding its Indego bike sharing program to more Philadelphians. “We are committed to an inclusive and equitable bike share program that serves all citizens of the city,” said Tolson. “The program provides stations and connectivity to some of our more challenged communities with the intent of connecting those communities not only to downtown, but to our parks and waterways. In our transportation system we believe access equals opportunity.”

As the bike network grows, safety continues to be a concern as well as an increasing priority for bicyclists and governments, in Philadelphia and elsewhere across the country. Tolson says that bike fatalities decreased by 25 percent in Philadelphia from 2010 to 2014, and education has been a big part of that. “One of the keys to bicyclist safety has been greater education and appreciation for bicyclists as people who deserve to share the road, so we’ve made that a focus.” Tolson says that as more bikers get on the road, awareness of road-sharing grows and our streets become safer for everyone.

2. El Presidio, Tucson, Ariz. – 95.8

The El Presidio neighborhood located in downtown Tucson is a historic district, home to City Hall and to many of the city’s jobs. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild says the city has been working to improve bikeability across the downtown neighborhoods.

“Tucson is a gold-level bike-friendly city according to the League of American Bicyclists, and we’re working to get to the next level. Tucson’s downtown has protected bike lanes, which we’re expanding, and many bike parking facilities. A number of downtown businesses offer discounts and incentives to customers who bike to their location. We’re also working with the private sector to launch a bike share program in downtown Tucson,” said Mayor Rothschild.

Redfin agent Sara Fischer says bicycling in Tucson is popular among residents, despite the hot climate. “Because Tucson enjoys such beautiful sunny weather almost year round, biking through this historic district allows you to enjoy all of the sights and sounds of our amazing southwest desert surroundings.”

3. Downtown, Austin, Texas – 93.4

Austin is rapidly growing as people—especially millennials—flood in from major cities and tech hotspots around the country. And those newcomers are entering a highly competitive market where every extra dollar put toward an offer on a home counts. That’s part of why new residents are foregoing the expense of a car and putting the money toward a condo or house near downtown where daily bike commuting is easy, according to Redfin agent Andrew Vallejo.

“I’ve worked with three clients in the past two weeks who do not own a car and rely on biking and walking to get to work and other parts of the city. Our downtown corridor is so bike-friendly that it’s possible for people to easily get to their jobs every day, especially if they live in a neighborhood near downtown like Zilker or East Austin,” Vallejo said.

The city of Austin has an Active Transportation Division that specifically focuses on connecting bicyclist and pedestrian pathways and making it safe for residents to commute to work via bike. Austin Mayor Steve Adler has also worked to increase the number of protected bike paths in the city.

“Building protected bike paths downtown has been great for Austin. Not only has it made getting around downtown safer and quicker for cyclists, but the protected paths have moved them out of harm’s way and relieved traffic congestion. Having a bikeable downtown has made everything better in Austin,” said Mayor Adler.

4. Downtown, Denver, Colo. – 92.6

The city of Denver operates a program called Denver Moves, which is aimed at enhancing the city-wide bicycle network to be more attractive to cyclists of all abilities. This year, the city updated that plan to include a network of enhanced on-street bicycle facilities downtown—such as protected or buffered bike lanes and marked intersections—and identified key corridors that link downtown to some of the city’s hottest neighborhoods like Cheesman Parkand Washington Park West.

“We have many clients who have relocated to Denver, in part, for its bikeability. Denver has more than 20 miles of bike lanes in downtown alone and 85 miles of paved trails throughout the city connecting the central business district to many of Denver’s most popular neighborhoods. With over 600 bike racks downtown and the ability to transport your bike on both our Light Rail and Regional Transportation District bus systems, the city makes it easy and convenient to commute by bike,” said Redfin agent Megan Leddy.

5. Downtown, Portland, Ore. – 92.3

Portland residents have been thinking about bikeability for a long time; the Portland City Council adopted the official Bicycle Master Plan back in 1996. More recently the city adopted a plan for 2030, which sets the stage for a vastly expanded bicycle transportation program.

“Portland has done such a fantastic job of creating designated bike boulevards throughout the city and the result is that commuting via bike into the downtown core is easy, safe and efficient, and is why we have one of the heaviest volumes of bike commuters in the country. Once you get downtown by bike, the combination of bike boulevards, designated paths and an abundance of bike racks gives the downtown biking community easy access to food carts in NW Portland, the waterfront park in the Pearl District and the hip breweries in the up-and-coming Central Eastside Industrial District. Our roadways are becoming more congested with vehicles, so commuting by bicycle is also currently one of the fastest ways to commute to downtown,” said Redfin agent Michael Morris.

6. Old Louisville, Louisville, Ky. – 89.9

Bicycle education is a key focus for the city of Louisville, which ranked sixth on our list. The city provides bicycle safety classes for individuals and brown bag lunches for businesses who want their employees to learn more about daily bicycle commuting.

The city has also improved its local bike infrastructure. “Louisville has invested in bike lanes to meet the huge demand from the community, and this ranking shows we’re getting results,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer “Those lanes have given residents a healthy, safe option to travel between neighborhoods and to downtown. But the work is hardly done. Our city is in the process of rethinking how we connect, and bicycles are a major part that strategic mobility plan.”

7. Downtown, Washington, D.C. – 88.2

Washington, D.C., takes bicycle safety seriously—it has committed to a Vision Zero Initiative, with the objective of reaching zero fatalities and serious injuries to travelers of the transportation system by the year 2024. As part of the initiative, citizens can report transportation hazards around the city via the Vision Zero Safety Map so that they can be promptly corrected by city officials.

“D.C. was one of the first cities to adopt a bike share system, and it’s taken off in popularity both with locals and tourists,” said Redfin agent Steve Centrella. “With the increase in dedicated bike lanes, as well as improvements to the Metropolitan Branch Trail, it’s easier for residents to commute downtown by bike, and we’re seeing a growing number of residents who bike as their primary means of transportation.”

8. Downtown, San Jose, Calif. – 87.3

San Jose residents are part of the Bay Area Bike Share network, which also operates in San Francisco, Palo Alto and other cities in the region. The bike share program aids the city’s efforts to increase bicycling until it accounts for 5 percent of all trips by 2020 and 15 percent of all trips by 2040. The city is also building a 400-mile on-street bikeway network to make getting around town easier and safer.

“In addition to recent improvements in biking infrastructure, San Jose also has a budding bike culture,” said Redfin agent Ashley Rabello. “One prime example is the San Jose Bike Party: a nonprofit group that brings together cyclists in the community for monthly rides and group excursions. Also, for those who don’t live right downtown, many bike enthusiasts opt to bike to public transportation as a way to shorten their commute without having to get in a car.”

9. Downtown, Indianapolis, Ind. – 86.7

Part of what makes downtown Indianapolis such a bike haven is the Indy Bike Hub at the YMCA. The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis partnered with the city government and Bicycle Garage Indy to create a centrally located hub where commuters can store their bikes during the day, repair their cycles in the bike shop or shower before work in the locker rooms.

“Biking has gotten a lot more convenient in Indianapolis over the past few years,” said Redfin agent Jake Johnson. “People have really taken to the Indiana Pacers Bike Share program, and there are a few well-used trails that lead to downtown that make commuting especially easy. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail connects different parts of the downtown core, and the Monon Trail gives residents in northern parts of the city like Meridian Kessler and Carmel a quick bicycle route to jobs downtown.”

10. The Loop, Chicago, Ill. – 84.2

Chicago has more than 200 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes, more than 13,000 bike racks and sheltered bike parking areas at Chicago Transit Authority bus and train stations throughout the city to make commuting to downtown a possibility for residents living in even farther outlying areas. The city also operates the popular bike share program Divvy.

According to Redfin agent Niko Voutsinas, Milwaukee Avenue is an especially popular route for cyclists to get to and from downtown every day, and is full of bike commuters come rush hour. But for many of these cyclists, there’s more to consider than just adequate roadways.

“A lot of my clients are pretty serious bicyclists, so good storage is a major priority when they look for a home. If you own a $10,000 bike, you’re not going to want to just lock it up outside every night—you’re going to want interior storage, so many of my buyers factor that in when deciding on a home. Can they set up a hoist system to hang their bikes in their loft? Is there a private garage that can fit multiple bicycles? These are all non-negotiables,” said Voutsinas.

Bike Score Methodology

Bike Score measures whether a location is good and safe for biking on a scale from 0–100 based on four equally weighted components:

  • Bike lanes
  • Hills
  • Destinations and road connectivity
  • Share of local workers’ commutes traveled by bicycle

To establish the top 10 list, Redfin ranked the Bike Scores of downtown neighborhoods across the country among cities with populations larger than 500,000.

MostWalkableCities_1280x960

The Nation’s Most-Walkable Cities Got Even More Walkable in 2016

Reposted from Redfin.com.

New York remains the nation’s most walkable city in the latest ranking by Walk Score®, a Redfin company. Walk Score ranked the most walkable U.S. cities with populations of more than 300,000.

Rank City Walk Score Change from 2015
1 New York, NY 88.9 +1.3
2 San Francisco, CA 85.7 +1.7
3 Boston, MA 80.1 +1.2
4 Philadelphia, PA 78.3 +1.7
5 Miami, FL 78.2 +2.6
6 Chicago, IL 77.5 +2.7
7 Washington, D.C. 77.0 +2.9
8 Seattle, WA 72.9 +2.1
9 Oakland, CA 71.5 +3
10 Long Beach, CA 69.0 +3.2

Long Beach edged out Baltimore (68.7) to bring some SoCal spirit to this year’s ranking. The Southern California region was unrepresented on the top 10 list each of the past two years. Long Beach also had the largest yearly increase of all 10 cities, up 3.2 points, helping it rank among the most walkable cities in the nation.

“Recognizing Long Beach as the most walkable city in Southern California, and one of the most walkable in the entire country, is a testament to the hard work we’ve been doing to improve and expand pedestrian infrastructure and support safe and convenient travel for everyone,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “We intend to continue making Long Beach a great place to walk and to live, work and visit.”

“A renaissance has been happening in Downtown Long Beach, which now has a Walk Score of 92,” said Redfin agent Michelle Zabukovec. “In addition to some brand new buildings, developers are rehabilitating structures that were already in place. The city has even created an incentive program for rehabilitation projects, and has also focused on improving walkability by adding more pedestrian lighting to create safer sidewalks. One example of this is the Pine Avenue Improvement Project. And of course everyone loves First Fridays on Atlantic Ave. and 2nd Street in Belmont Shore.”

All of the top 10 cities saw an increase in their respective Walk Score ratings, indicating that the nation’s most walkable cities are becoming even more walkable. Of the top 50 most walkable cities, only two, Honolulu and Columbus, improved by less than a point.

“Improving a city’s Walk Score takes work. In these communities, construction crews have built an invitation for walking,” said Eric Scharnhorst, livability analyst at Redfin. “Safer sidewalks are now connected to a greater variety of everyday amenities. This creates opportunities for both local businesses and families.“

Omaha, which ranked 32nd, had the largest year-over-year Walk Score increase of the 50 most walkable cities, with an improvement of 4.3 points. With a Walk Score of 45.4, the city is still considered “car dependent,” but many neighborhoods saw big gains in their ratings.

“This improvement in Omaha’s Walk Score is likely thanks to revitalization projects underway in neighborhoods across the city,” said Redfin real estate agent Travis Thomas. “Notable areas of development include Downtown, Blackstone and Aksarben Village where developers have been creating a mix of residential and commercial real estate and rehabilitating older buildings.This efficient use of space and resources means that people can live, work and shop on the same block.”

Six additional cities that ranked among the top 50 most walkable cities saw notable increases in their scores from last year. St. Louis, Missouri, Denver, Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, Santa Ana, California, as well as Austin and Houston in Texas, all saw a Walk Score increase of four points or more.

WalkableTexasNeighborhoods_1280x960_blog

The 10 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Texas

Reposted from Redfin.com. 

Texas may not have a reputation for walkability, with its wide open spaces and 800 miles of land between its northern and southern borders, but there are actually many densely populated, highly walkable neighborhoods throughout the state. But which city has the most walkable neighborhoods? Is it Austin, with its burgeoning Millennial cohort, densely populated Dallas or the expansive city of Houston?

According to our calculations based on Walk Score data, Dallas is the big winner when it comes to walkability. Not only did Downtown Dallas nab our number one spot for the most walkable neighborhood in the state with an 89 out of 100 Walk Score, but Dallas also tied for the most neighborhoods to make the top 10 list, with a total of three neighborhoods. Austin came in a close second place to Dallas, with three neighborhoods in the top 10 list, including the number two and three slots.

Which cities didn’t fare so well? Houston, San Antonio and El Paso, which made the bottom slots of our list, and Fort Worth, which didn’t make an appearance at all.

To see the full list and how the neighborhoods shake out, take a look at our findings below, which rank neighborhoods based on their Walk Score ratings and our own agents’ local insights. Do the winners surprise you? Leave a comment! And to see how your hometown or neighborhood stacks up, head over to WalkScore.com.

1. Downtown Dallas – Walk Score 89

Downtown Dallas tops our list of the best neighborhoods in Texas for pedestrians with a Walk Score rating of 89. Residents living in the many high-rise condos enjoy easy access to centrally located jobs, cultural opportunities in the museum district and the popular Klyde Warren Park.

“Downtown Dallas is continuing to grow and develop into a top-tier urban destination,” said Redfin agent Bob Plessinger. “Our city has seen incredible growth over the last decade, especially from out-of-state buyers looking to escape sky-high prices in places like San Francisco. Many of these buyers purchase homes downtown because they know they’ll be able to quickly familiarize themselves with the city and all it has to offer, even without a car. They can walk across Klyde Warren Park and tour Oak Lawn/Uptown, or they can walk any other direction and access excellent restaurants and bars.”

2. Downtown Austin – Walk Score 88

Recent efforts by the City of Austin through programs like the Great Streets project have made Downtown Austin one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Texas. Public spaces along the roadways, updated sidewalks, ample lighting for night-time activities and streetside cafes give residents safe, easy access to the heart of the city.

“There has been a huge push to make Downtown a more livable place,” said Lauren Johnson, an agent with Redfin. “Many cities have downtowns that stay busy and vibrant during the day, but once 5 p.m. hits people pack up and go home. Austin’s downtown, however, is full of people through the evening because they have access to a huge variety of interesting places to eat, drink or shop. If you live in one of the many condos downtown, you’ll be in the center of it all.”

3. West Campus, Austin – Walk Score 87

West Campus is aptly named for its location directly west of the University of Texas. Since most of the neighborhood’s 15,000 are college students without cars, the neighborhood is highly walkable. You’ll find many small craftsman bungalows built in the 40s, a swath of decade-old condos and a recent influx of brand new apartment buildings.

“Not surprisingly, this neighborhood is densely populated with students. They really have everything they need within walking distance – they can run or exercise along the Shoal Creek Greenbelt, study for finals at one of the many coffee shops or go out to one of the local bars on a Friday night, and when they land an internship downtown they’re just a short commute away,” said Lauren Johnson.

4. Oak Lawn, Dallas – Walk Score 86

Walk across Klyde Warren Park on the north side of Downtown Dallas and you’ll be in Oak Lawn/Uptown. This neighborhood has a bustling retail corridor and a slew of new restaurants and eateries. It also has all the necessary amenities like grocery stores, gas stations and the like. Residents can easily access downtown jobs, but can remain somewhat separated from the dense urban core.

“There is a huge variety of homes in Oak Lawn — for example, you can get a mid-rise condo with expansive city views, or you could move farther north to Turtle Creek and get a small rambler,” said Bob Plessinger. “Property values in Oak Lawn run the gamut as well, anywhere from $350 per square foot to $1,800 per square foot, so the neighborhood is accessible to all types of homebuyers.”

5. Midtown, Houston – Walk Score 82

Houston dwarfs its fellow Texas cities in size and population, but it’s not known for its walkability. Most Houstonians will tell you that their main method of transportation is a car, but there are certainly pockets within the I-610 Loop where walking is a viable way to get around. Midtown is one of those neighborhoods. It is close enough to downtown that residents can walk to work, yet it is full of its own local hang-outs, restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and bars.

“Residents living in Midtown can walk to downtown or hop on the rail line and quickly get across the city and catch a sporting event at BBVA Compass Stadium, Minute Maid Park or Toyota Center, but one of the best things about Midtown is that it has its own vibrant scene,” said Redfin agent Irma Jalifi. “Locals really don’t need to leave the area for fun or entertainment – it’s a one-stop-shop with plenty of options within walking distance for nightlife or running quick errands on a weekend.”

6. Knox/Henderson, Dallas – Walk Score 81

Knox/Henderson is farther from Downtown Dallas, but still within a reasonable commute time for residents with inner-city jobs. This area is undergoing stunning growth as residents flood to the area and developers rush to meet their demand.

“Many Dallas neighborhoods have older, classic homes, but Knox/Henderson is seeing an inflow of new, modern townhomes and condos, in styles that typically appeal more to out-of-state buyers,” said Bob Plessinger. “More restaurants and shops are cropping up as new residents arrive in the neighborhood, so I expect that this neighborhood’s walk score will continue to improve over time.”

7. Downtown San Antonio – Walk Score 81

Downtown San Antonio has all of the typical attractions of an urban core — retail shops and businesses, restaurants and cultural happenings — but the River Walk is the real draw for pedestrians. The lined pathway sits one story below street level and stretches from downtown to Mission Espada, with pet-friendly bars and lively restaurants, as well as more tranquil sections without businesses all along the way.

While the river walk is certainly a tourist attraction, local residents make use of it, too. “The river walk is an especially popular destination for local families and their kids,” said Erin Pierce, a real estate agent with Redfin. “The majority of the homes nearby are condos and lofts, and a lot of new developments are coming into the area. The river walk creates a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the downtown streets.”

8. East Austin – Walk Score 81

East Austin has been on the rise in recent years as new developments make their way to the neighborhood. Many developers are replacing older homes with more modern structures, but some residents still favor the 30s and 40s style and opt for heavy renovations that keep the charm and personality of the home in-tact. The variety in home styles, coupled with the neighborhood’s close proximity to downtown (it’s just on the East side of I-35), draw in all types of homebuyers.

“This neighborhood is increasingly popular with my customers,” said Lauren Johnson. “One of the most important things to my buyers is finding a home that fits their unique style, and the variety in structures in East Austin provides that. One of the other important things for my buyers is a high Walk Score, and this neighborhood is full of interesting shops, bars, restaurants, stores and public spaces in close proximity to the quiet residential streets.”

9. Neartown/Montrose, Houston – Walk Score 80

Neartown/Montrose is one of Houston’s older, more colorful neighborhoods. You’ll find a mix of home styles from ultra-modern to 1920s craftsman, and a mix of residents to match. Young professionals working downtown can live in Neartown/Montrose and manage an easy commute, students attending the University of St. Thomas are within striking distance of campus and golfers are a short drive from Hermann Park Golf Course.

“Everything you need is really within walking distance here,” said Irma Jalifi. “There are several parks, including dog parks, all along the Buffalo Bayou Trail, fun restaurants and bars on and just off of Westheimer Road, and a plethora of boutiques, shops and convenience stores scattered throughout. This is also one of Houston’s more laid-back neighborhoods — the quiet streets make it feel very far from the noise and activity of downtown, yet it’s just a short commute away.”

10. Virginia, El Paso – Walk Score 78

The Virginia neighborhood of El Paso isn’t known for its bustling night life or active daytime scene, but it is still a highly walkable neighborhood for its 1,100 residents. Running along the north border of I-10, Virginia is a narrow strip (just two blocks wide) of older homes and the occasional mom-and-pop shop. Locals can get most of their shopping done within walking distance, and are just a short distance from businesses and attractions downtown.

“Residents on the southwestern end of the Virginia neighborhood are just a short walk away from some of downtown’s main attractions, like the convention center, the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Museum of Art, while residents on the northeastern side are within walking distance to El Paso High School, Tom Lea Park and the city’s main hospitals,” said Redfin agent Maggie Garcia. “If you want to live in quiet residential neighborhood that also has access to the more lively areas of town, Virginia is a good bet.”

Walk Score Methodology: Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities to determine a neighborhood’s Walk Score, which is a number between 0 and 100.  Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. A decay function is used to give points to more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30 minute walk. Walk Score also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics such as block length and intersection density.

Opportunity-Score-Screenshot-White-House-SM-1

Redfin Presents Opportunity Score at White House Open Data Event

Reposted from Redfin.com.

Today, Redfin joins with the White House to announce Opportunity Score, a data-driven tool based on Walk Score®that will help Americans find housing with easy access to jobs. Watch the Expanding Opportunity with Open Data event here.

We’re excited to participate and talk about Redfin’s Opportunity Score, which we’re designing to help Americans find a house or apartment within a 30-minute commute of work, even for someone who doesn’t own a car.

Today’s event is the culmination of a fast-paced, collaborative hackathon launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Participants included developers, data scientists and engineers from the private and non-profit sectors as well as subject-matter experts across a variety of disciplines. Redfin’s Eric Scharnhorst led Opportunity Score’s design based on Walk Score infrastructure.

“We applaud the administration for bringing the technology community to the table to talk about economic mobility in America,” Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson said. “We’re hopeful that Opportunity Score and other tools born of this initiative can help people make informed decisions about where they live and give more families the opportunity to thrive.”

Economic mobility isn’t always determined by skill, education or luck. Your ZIP code can play a role, too. Opportunity Score identifies neighborhoods within a 30-minute walk, bike ride or transit trip to employment centers where jobs pay $40,000 a year or more.

The tool includes information about the price of housing. Combining White House opportunity data, Redfin data on home sales and rentals, and mobility data from Walk Score and Transit Score, Opportunity Score can pinpoint housing within easy reach of job centers or opportunities for employment within easy reach of home.

“Affordability is a growing challenge, one we see first hand as a real estate brokerage helping people buy and sell homes,” Richardson said. “But the price of a home or the cost of rent is only part of the equation. People want a home where they can have a reasonable commute to work, participate in the community and access opportunities that can provide a better future for their children.”

Opportunity Score is still in development as we build our prototype to scale. Watch this space for updates or emailpress@redfin.com to learn more.

At Redfin, we’re passionate about harnessing data and embracing technology to educate consumers and make buying and selling a home easier. We measure homebuyer demand, pinpoint the best day to market a home, and predict which houses will sell quickly, information that helps our customers and informs the broader housing market.

Opportunity Score will join our existing arsenal of tools, including Walk Score and Transit Score, to empower the public and help people understand what it’s like to live in a particular neighborhood. Combined, these tools can help people make choices that can have great impact on quality of life and long-term outcomes for their families.

When the government and private sector join forces to harness and mine big data, we can build great things.

UDistrict_Seattle

Why You Should Buy the Cheapest Home on the Best Block

Reposted from Redfin.com.

I bet you think buying an affordable city home requires a sacrifice: the neighborhood will have a low Walk Score and the highly rated schools will be out of reach.

Not necessarily. Some affordable homes are in city neighborhoods near highly rated schools and within walking distance to everyday amenities. But there’s a catch. To find them, you’ll need to search in neighborhoods that have plenty of expensive homes in them, too.

Here’s why: neighborhoods with a mix of home prices are three times more likely to be walkable and have highly rated schools than are purely affordable neighborhoods.

Even when compared with purely high-end neighborhoods, home to the highest-rated schools, neighborhoods with a mix of home prices are the most likely to have it all: a high Walk Score and schools with above-average ratings.

Median Walk Score, GreatSchools Ranking for Different Types of Neighborhoods

Neighborhood Home Price Mix Median Neighborhood Walk Score Median Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable 54 4.1
Balanced-Mix 70 5.1
High-End 57 6.9

The problem is that areas with a balanced mix of home prices cover just 13 percent of major U.S. cities. We looked at the 20 most populous cities Redfin serves and identified these neighborhoods in the fall because communities with a wide range of incomes, and by association, home prices, give families a better shot at getting ahead.

But are these actually the kinds of places where most people would want to live? After affordability, homebuyers’ top two demands are good schools and walkability. So we ranked the 170 balanced-mix and affordable neighborhoods by their Walk Scores and GreatSchools school ratings and found that only 24, or 14 percent, actually meet those common demands. Here they are:

Top 24 Affordable and Balanced Mix Neighborhoods Ranked by Walk Score and GreatSchools Score

Rank Neighborhood Home Price Mix Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
1 University District, Seattle Balanced 91 7.8
2 West End, Washington, DC Balanced 95 6.5
3 Adams Morgan / Kalorama Heights / Lanier Heights, Washington, DC Balanced 94 6.5
4 Queen Anne, Seattle Balanced 80 7.4
5 Ravenna, Seattle Balanced 74 7.7
6 Rosedale, Austin Balanced 69 8.1
7 International District, Seattle Affordable 97 5.2
8 Columbia Heights, Washington, DC Balanced 93 5.5
9 Fulton River District, Chicago Balanced 92 5.2
10 Hillcrest, San Diego Balanced 80 6.3
11 Banker’s Hill San Diego Balanced 84 5.8
12 Zilker, Austin Balanced 64 7.6
13 Westmoreland / Montrose, Houston Balanced 83 5.6
14 Platt Park, Denver Balanced 75 6.3
15 Eastlake, Seattle Balanced 69 6.8
16 Windsor Square, Phoenix Balanced 74 6.2
17 Victory Heights, Seattle Affordable 64 7.0
18 Rolando / SDSU, San Diego Affordable 74 5.9
19 Columbia City, Seattle Affordable 80 5.2
20 Bouldin Creek, Austin Balanced 75 5.4
21 West Highland, Denver Balanced 74 5.1
22 Highland, Austin Affordable 63 6.1
23 El Cerrito, San Diego Affordable 65 5.8
24 Schorsch Village, Chicago Affordable 68 5.2

Only eight of the original 20 cities from our last report have a neighborhood on the list. Not a single neighborhood in Boston made the cut, even though Boston topped the list in our last report for having the most area covered by a balanced mix of home prices. These neighborhoods are walkable, but the schools have below-average ratings.

So, what’s going on here? There just aren’t enough of these kinds of neighborhoods for everyone who’s looking for an affordable home. It’s one reason we’re asking policymakers to loosen restrictions on building in Seattle and other cities so that more integrated housing can be developed and more people can live in these types of neighborhoods.

Take Los Angeles, for example.

“Homebuyers have to pay a significant premium to live in a neighborhood with highly rated schools and amenities,” said Redfin agent Nikki Kilmer. “Although there are technically some neighborhoods in L.A. that could be considered affordable, there’s not much demand to live in those areas.”

If you are looking for an affordable home, your instinct might be to search in affordable neighborhoods. But if you also want highly rated schools and a high Walk Score, look for the least-expensive home in one of the mixed-priced neighborhoods on this list. This is a lot like grandpa’s strategy to make a safe real estate investment, “buy the cheapest home on the best block.”

Check out the table below to see how the affordable and mixed-price neighborhoods in your city stack up in terms of walkability and school scores. Click here to download a spreadsheet complete with the Walk Score, average GreatSchools rating and median sale price for each neighborhood analyzed in this report series.

The Top Affordable and Balanced Mix Neighborhoods in 20 Cities by Walk Score and GreatSchools Ranking

Austin Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Highland 63 6.1
Balanced Mix Rosedale 69 8.1
Baltimore Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Brewer’s Hill 90 1.8
Balanced Mix Otterbein 90 1.7
Boston Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Jones Hill /
Uphams Corner
85 3.6
Balanced Mix Hyde
Square
88 3.6
Chicago Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Schorsch
Village
68 5.2
Balanced Mix Fulton River District 92 5.5
Columbus Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Misty Meadows 48 7.9
Balanced Mix German Village 86 1.9
Denver Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Score
Affordable Cole 75 3
Balanced Mix Platt Park 75 6.3
Detroit Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Sherwood Forest 68 4.1
Balanced Mix South
University Village
92 4.4
Houston Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood Greatschools Rating
Affordable Sagemont 39 6
Balanced Mix Westmoreland 83 5.6
Indianapolis Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Augusta
Heights
42 4.5
Balanced Mix Downtown Indianapolis 76 4.9
Jacksonville Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Southwood 36 5.2
Balanced Mix Isle of
Palms
17 6.4
Los Angeles Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable South Los Angeles 68 4.1
Balanced Mix
Memphis Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Binghampton-Lester 55 4
Balanced Mix Central
Gardens
60 4
Philadelphia Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Castor Gardens 77 3.7
Balanced Mix Olde City 97 4.6
Phoenix Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Estrella Northwest 42 6
Balanced Mix Kierland 52 9.1
San Antonio Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Timber Ridge 39 5.4
Balanced Mix Alamo Plaza 79 4.7
San Diego Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Rolando 74 5.9
Balanced Mix Hillcrest 80 6.3
San Francisco Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Hunters Point 43 5.4
Balanced Mix Visitacion
Valley
62 5.2
San Jose Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Downtown 82 4.2
Balanced Mix
Seattle Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable International District 97 5.2
Balanced Mix University District 91 7.8
Washington, D.C. Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Lamond-Riggs 70 4.4
Balanced Mix West End 95 6.5

Method and Data
We used home sale price data from Redfin from July 2013 through June 2015. City-specific median family income came from the 2014 one-year American Community Survey.

To define affordability in each city, we kept it simple: A home was considered affordable if 28 percent of the local median family income could cover the monthly mortgage and principal payment, assuming the buyer put 20 percent down and took out a 30-year loan with a four percent interest rate. Homes with sale prices 20 percent above that threshold were considered expensive.

To get the price mix of different areas, we summarized the price of recently sold homes in a 500-meter grid. Affordable areas had at least three affordable homes for every expensive home. Areas with a balanced mix of home prices had a ratio of affordable to expensive homes between 0.33 and 3.0. High-end areas had at least three expensive homes for every affordable home.

We considered a neighborhood “walkable” if it had a Walk Score of 60 or higher. Read more about the Walk Score methodology here. An above average GreatSchools score meant 5 or above. Read more about the GreatSchools methodology here.