All posts in “Apartments & Rentals”

12 Cities Where You Can Live Affordably in a Walkable Neighborhood

Living in a walkable neighborhood can save you a lot of money, particularly in savings on car costs. But with rents skyrocketing in many parts of the country, sometimes it feels like affordable rent and walkability go together like chocolate and salsa (hello, $4500 studio in San Francisco).

In the face of these sometimes dismal rent numbers, we decided to find the places in the country where you can live a walkable, urban lifestyle – affordably.  To answer this question, we looked at Walk Score data, Cost of Living Index, and average rents for every major city in the country. And, in all of the cities listed below, there’s a nice selection of one bedroom apartments located in Walker’s Paradise neighborhoods (meaning a Walk Score of 90+) listed on our apartment search for $1000 or less. Take a look at our top 12 picks for affordable and walkable cities:

Buffalo1.  Buffalo, NY

Despite, the long, cold winters,  this once-great industrial hub in western New York is home to a vibrant community of young professionals and students in walkable areas like Bryant and Front Park. Located where the Niagara River flows out of Lake Erie, Buffalo boasts great nightlife, an emerging dining scene, and neighborhoods with a strong sense of community.

 

St. Louis2.  St. Louis, MO

Home of the Gateway Arch and the Cardinals, this Midwestern city boasts not only walkable neighborhoods and affordable rent, but also plenty of free activities. Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World’s Fair, houses a free zoo and world-class art museum. Walkable neighborhoods such as the revitalized Downtown, the Central West End, and the Delmar Loop offer a variety of apartments at affordable prices.

 

Rochester3.  Rochester, NY

On the shores of Lake Ontario, Rochester brings together small-town charm with world-class culture. Even in the winter, when snow is high and temperatures are low, walkers can navigate downtown in the Rochester Skyway, a system of enclosed walkways. Residents, many of whom live in walkable neighborhoods like Pearl-Meigs-Monroe and Park Avenue, can also jump in a car share and head out for a day trip to the gorgeous Finger Lakes, a major wine-growing region.

 

Chicago

4.  Chicago, IL

Although the Windy City may not immediately seem like an affordable home, prices are well below those in comparable large US cities – we found tons of Walker’s Paradise apartments for less than $1000 a month, especially in neighborhoods like Lake View, Uptown, and Hyde Park. Chicago’s many walkable neighborhoods (seriously, there are 28 with a Walk Score of 90+) are connected by one of the country’s best public transit systems.

 

Pittsburgh

5.  Pittsburgh, PA

Famous as the center of the steel industry in the 19th century, Pittsburgh is located where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers join the Ohio River. Pittsburgh’s landscape is defined by waterways, hills, and bridges connecting walkable neighborhoods such as the Central Business District and the Southside Flats. A vibrant music scene, passionate Steelers fans, plentiful students, and a lively culinary scene come together in this surprisingly hip and liveable city.

 

Minneapolis6.  Minneapolis, MN

One of the Twin Cities, together with nearby St. Paul, Minneapolis is known as the city of lakes. Although average rent is higher than some cities, there are plenty of affordable places to be found in Lowry Hill East, Whittier, and Loring Park, and with a bike score of 79, this city is the most bikeable city (with a population over 200,000) in the country.

 

Milwaukee7.  Milwaukee, WI

Known for its breweries and its avid sports fans, Milwaukee sits on the Western coast of Lake Michigan. Locals flock to Brady Street on the Lower East Side for independent coffee houses and shopping, and foodies love the indoor Milwaukee Public Market in Juneau Town.

 

Cleveland8.  Cleveland, OH

Yet another town on the Great Lakes that is both affordable and walkable, Cleveland is located on the shores of Lake Erie. The Downtown neighborhood is in the midst of a revival, making this a great place for urbanites on a budget.

 

 

Baltimore

9.  Baltimore, MD

This Maryland city may be near D.C., but Baltimore has a character all of its own. Home to the world renowned Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as well as the Baltimore Orioles, this city has something for everyone. Neighborhoods like Mount Vernon, Seton Hill, and Charles Village offer walkable and affordable apartments, and for those who love to live in a walkable city but still experience nature, Gwynns Falls Trail is an excellent example of an urban trail system.

 

Dallas

10.  Dallas, TX

Texas may not be known for a car-free lifestyle (and, to be fair, none of Texas’s main cities have an impressive overall Walk Score), but Dallas has a surprisingly walkable city center with plenty of affordable places to live around the Main Street District, the Farmers Market District, and the Government District.

 

Richmond11.  Richmond, VA

First settled in 1607, Virginia’s capital city is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Now, residents can enjoy the historic Shockoe Bottom area and beautiful Edwardian architecture in The Fan district, as well as a quick walk to work at any of 60 public and private companies in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park.

 

Sacramento12.  Sacramento, CA

The hub of California politics, Sacramento is one city in the Sunny State where affordable rent isn’t out of the question. With beautiful weather year round, residents of Sacramento can enjoy affordable rent and a walkable lifestyle in neighborhoods like Boulevard Park and Mansion Flats. To top it off, they can jump in a car share and get to the Napa Valley or even Lake Tahoe in less than two hours.

 

Runners Up:  Providence, RI and Philadelphia, PA

Both these lovely cities are highly walkable and actually have a good number of apartments in our price range (under $1000 for a 1 bedroom in a Walker’s Paradise), but the overall high average cost of living index meant they got relegated to runners-up.

 

Crime Grade for Homes and Apartments

A high Walk Score tells you that you’re close to the people and places you love. But is the neighborhood safe from crime?

Today we’re announcing Crime Grade, the first measure of crime safety for a home or apartment that accurately measures your personal risk.  Crime Grade is an A – D rating that tells you how likely you are to be affected by crime.

Crime Grade is an A-D rating for an address.

Crime Grade is an A—D rating for an address.

Why Does it Matter?

Crime safety is a top concern for people looking for apartments and shopping for homes. What matters most is your per capita risk of being affected by crime.  Other crime maps and statistics often make walkable neighborhoods with lots of people (e.g. Downtowns) seem unsafe because they only measure how many crimes are reported — not the per capita crime rate.

The Walk Score Crime Grade is computed using a patent-pending system that aggregates crimes near an address and weights crimes by severity and distance.  We calculate a per capita crime rate for an address based on the total population (residents and workers) in the area.  Crime rates are then compared against city-wide rates and converted into a letter grade. We have a separate Crime Grade for personal crime (e.g. robbery or violent crime that affects a person) and property crime (e.g. burglary or theft that affects property). This allows you to accurately compare your crime risk between addresses in a city.

For example, below are two maps of crime in Chicago. The map on the left shows reported crimes and makes Downtown Chicago appear quite dangerous.  The Walk Score crime map on the right shows the Crime Grade (e.g. your per capita risk of being affected by crime) in this area. Although there are a lot of crimes reported in Downtown Chicago, there are so many people that your personal risk is still low.

Crime Maps

Available for Every Address in 16 Cities

Crime Grades are available in the 16 cities listed below where police departments make their crime reports publicly available:

Crime Grades are available today on all Walk Score apartment and rental listings in the cities above and will be rolling out to every address in these cities soon.  If you want to get your Crime Grade right away, just tweet @walkscore with your address and we’ll send you a link to your Crime Grade.

We’ve been working on our Crime Grade methodology for over a year.  We initially launched neighborhood crime comparisons in the summer of 2013. Please send us your feedback, we’d love to hear what you think.

 

Apartments for Every Lifestyle

Want an apartment with a front porch?

At Walk Score, we believe where you live has a big impact on your lifestyle.  That’s why we help you find walkable apartments with short commutes near the people and places you love.

The amenities in your building also have a big impact on your lifestyle. Starting today, you can search through all of our rentals to find the exact amenities and floor plans that suit you.

If you want hardwood floors, a top floor apartment, a deck, garden, or maybe a fireplace, just type any of those things into our new search box.

When you view a rental listing, we’ll show you which part of the apartment description matches your search.

 

We’ve found an apartment with a front porch for you.

Find Rentals on iPhone and Android

We’ve also updated our iPhone app and Android app to make it easier to find the perfect rental.  Our new floor plan viewer lets you see the layout of each unit in a building.

See the layout of each unit in a building with our iPhone or Android app.

See apartment floor plans with our iPhone app or Android app.

Happy summer apartment hunting!  Maybe it’s time for an apartment with a pool?

 

 

 

What Makes a Great Apartment Search?

Think back to the last time you moved.  You might have thought, “I want a better commute and I want to live near the people and places I love.”

Whether you’re a so-called millennial (born after 1980) who likes using your smartphone more than driving a car — or whether you’re an aging baby boomer who wants to drive less — more and more people are looking for what we call “walkability.”

Our goal is to help people find walkable places to live.  So we were thrilled to find out Walk Score was named one of the 5 best apartment search tools by Lifehacker and our newly updated iPhone app was named one of 4 essential iPhone apps by Wired Magazine.

Here are some tips and tricks to find your Walker’s Paradise:

Compare Commutes

Favorite any address on Walk Score to compare commute times to the places you travel frequently.

Compare Commutes

Search By Commute Time

You can search for apartments by commute time driving, on public transit, biking, or walking with our Android app and iPhone app or on our website.

Compare Floor Plans

Our new Floor Plan viewer lets you quickly browse floor plans and prices for any listing.

Floor Plan Viewer

Get Your Score Card

And last but not least, whenever you’re looking for a place to live make sure to check your score card.

Score Card

 

Let us know what you think makes a great apartment search!

Find Your Walker’s Paradise

Spring is here and warm weather brings out the best in city living – from farmer’s markets to sidewalk cafes and urban beaches. But walking doesn’t have to be seasonal. As a senior, graduating from the University of Washington, wherever I land next, I’m hoping to live in a Walker’s Paradise. To help inspire your search, here are some great apartment buildings with a Walk Score of 90+.

AVA 55 Ninth Apartments – San Francisco

Buildings like AVA 55 Ninth in San Francisco (Walk Score: 95) can help you ditch the car and lace up your walking shoes. Located in the South of the Market neighborhood, AVA 55 Ninth is surrounded by SF’s tech startup scene, SOMA’s Farmer’s Market and the annual Noise Pop Musical Festival. Building manager, Christina Park adds: “We’re also near Bay Area Bike Share kiosks so even if you don’t want to walk, you don’t have to drive!”

Tower 737 (Walk Score: 98) is another San Francisco option if you’re not one for driving. Their apartments in Lower Nob Hill are within walking distance of the Financial District and SF’s Union Square. If you want to walk to a movie, no problem; If you want to take the cable car back, it’s all good.

Chicago’s skyline has some unbeatable buildings if you’re up for a stroll on the Magnificent Mile. The Aqua at Lakeshore East Apartments (Walk Score: 94) has easy access to Chicago’s Pedway system, so if there’s a cold breeze in the windy city, you can walk in the warm(er) underground tunnels. Feeling royal? The Regal Apartments (Walk Score: 94) in the South Loop, can also help you keep the car at home. Formerly a publishing business district, The Regal’s neighborhood maintains a unique look with early 1900s architecture.

Kensington Boston Apartments

How about Boston? We’re excited about The Kensington’s Walk Score of 98 and their two-block walk to the Boston Opera House. Hotels closeby mean that your family can skip renting a car while on vacation and stay close to you (even if you’d rather they didn’t).

Feeling sleepless? Maybe Seattle is more your speed. We’re all about the Emerald City for a few reasons: 1. We live here, 2. We love coffee, and 3. Our office has a Walk Score of 98. But we’re not the only spot in Seattle with a stellar Walk Score. The brand new Sunset Electric Apartments, located in the heart of the rapidly developing Capitol Hill neighborhood (and just around the corner from our office) has a Walk Score of 98, Transit Score of 81 and Bike Score of 89.

Taylor 28 Apartment Homes in South Lake Union make it easy to grab dinner on top of the Space Needle or visit Seattle’s Experience Music Project. The combination of the Taylor 28’s Walk Score of 98 and Bike Score of 87 means there’s no need to sit in traffic on a sunny Seattle day. We have more of those than you’d think…

So get out and explore your city, and let us help you find your Walker’s Paradise, there are thousands to choose from!

A Home for You – AND Your Bike, Too!

Maybe you’d like to ride more, but the hassle of liberating your bike from the storage locker every time you want to go get coffee is too much to deal with. The scowl from the building manager when you’ve got your bike in the elevator feels like an accusation. If there’s an elevator – you might be using the stairs because you’d rather keep your bike in your apartment than trust it to the garage.

There’s good news. Rentals with bike friendly services are on the rise. This year, for Bike to Work Week we’re all about these buildings that have amazing amenities for our rides.

In Denver (Bike Score: 70) a handful of buildings are adding bike rooms – DIY repair shops with work benches and tools. From the Denver Post:

Susan Maxwell, director of real estate for Zocalo, said the Velo Room at Solera includes “all the tools that you might need — Park brand tools, a stand to put your bike on while you work on it, a workbench, aprons, air pumps, tubes and lube, and other supplies. Also, consumables such as gel packs and energy bars, as well as maps on the wall for the more than 800 miles of bike trails in the Denver area.”

Biking is part of the design style at Cruise in Denver

Biking is part of the design style at Cruise in Denver

Cruise, a building in a Biker’s Paradise neighborhood, has bikes at the center of its design aesthetic. They gave away cruiser bikes as an incentive to renters, they’ve got the coveted bike room on site, and there’s storage space for your fair weather ride – we know you don’t have just one.

No surprises here – Portland (Bike Score: 70) buildings also have bike friendly services as part of what they’re offering renters. Currently under construction in the city’s Lloyd District, a cycle-centric apartment complex named Hassalo on Eighth has 1,200 bicycle parking spaces in its design. That’s believed to be more than any other apartment building in North America.

The Milano (which bill’s itself as “Portland’s premier bicycle friendly apartments, designed and built from the ground up to accommodate everything the Portland bicycle community need from an apartment complex”) and EcoFlats PDX both have secured indoor wall mounted parking for your ride. EcoFlats PDX has a bike bar on the ground floor and yes, it’s totally okay for you to hang your bike from the ceiling in your loft.

Velo Bike Shop located in the Via6 Apartments

Velo Bike Shop located in the Via6 Apartments

In Seattle (Bike Score: 64), Portland’s neighbor to the north, Via6 Apartments also has a bike shop at the ground level and there are 250 bike parking spots. Seattle just announced its new bike share program, so you don’t even need to own a bike to live a bicycle friendly life.

But bike friendly living isn’t just a west of the Rockies thing. A developer in Philadelphia (Bike Score: 68) opened a handful of buildings with bike sharing included – no bike, no excuse, the properties have a small fleet you can access for free.

And several communities in the Washington DC area – long a great city for cyclists – are using bike amenities to entice potential renters. Crescent, in nearby Arlington, VA has a room in the garage with storage for up to 200 bikes, offers complimentary loaners to residents and is home to Tri360, a swim/bike/run shop.

We’re psyched to learn that there are places where our bikes are not just welcome, but a part of the design for apartment living. We’d ride anyway – every week is bike to work week for us – but anything that makes living with a bike easier, we’re all for it.

  • Do you live in a building with great biking amenities? What could your building offer that would make biking a better option? Tell us about it in the comments.
  • Want to live a bike ride away from work? Use My Commutes on the map tool bar to find a rental within biking distance.

Happiness is a Short Commute

It’s true! In fact, one study found that a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40% more to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office. And, the inverse it true too. A Swedish study found that people who endure more than a 45-minute commute are 40% more likely to divorce.

Similarly, during a 5-year study of the happiest places on Earth, National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner found that “the top two things we hate the most on a day-to-day basis is, No. 1: housework and No. 2: the daily commute in our cars… It’s an easy way for us to get happier. Move closer to your place of work.”

Find Your Better Commute Today

A better commute might be a shorter drive, taking public transit so you can read a book, or being able to walk or bike to work for exercise.  Sometimes my biking commute is the best part of my day!

Get started finding your better commute and make more room for the rest of your life. Our Android and iPhone apps make it easy.

Best Canadian Cities for Public Transit

Following on our ranking of the best U.S. cities for public transit earlier this year, today we’re announcing our first ranking of the best Canadian cities for public transit.

We’ve calculated the Transit Score of 38 Canadian cities and almost 1,000 neighborhoods to help you find an apartment for rent or home for sale with a better commute and more transportation choices.

In comparison to the United States, Toronto and Montreal score better than any large U.S. city except New York and San Francisco. And Vancouver, with a Transit Score of 74, trounces nearby Seattle (our home town), with a Transit Score of 57.

The Best Large Canadian Cities for Public Transit

canada-ranking

Here is our Transit Score ranking of Canadian cities with more than 500,000 residents:

Rank City Transit Score
1 Toronto 78
2 Montréal 77
3 Vancouver 74
4 Winnipeg 51
5 Ottawa 49
6 Brampton 48
7 Québec 46
8 Edmonton 44
9 Calgary 43
10 Hamilton 42

Click on the cities in the list above to explore the best neighborhoods for public transit.

Transit Score Ranking Methodology

The rankings are based on our Transit Score algorithm, which measures how well a location is served by public transit. Addresses with a Transit Score of 90-100 are considered a “Rider’s Paradise.” Places with a score of 70–89 have Excellent Transit. Scores of 50–69 indicate places with Good Transit and ratings of 49 or lower indicate areas with Some or Minimal Transit options. Read the Transit Score methodology.

Find Apartments Near Public Transit

There’s growing evidence that living near good public transportation is a smart decision. For example, living near public transit can save you money. Transportation is the 2nd largest household expense in Canada. Taking public transit is cheaper than owning a car. And living near good public transit might just make you happier — after all, nobody likes being stuck in traffic.

Walk Score Apartment Search helps you find apartments near public transit.  For example, here’s a map of rentals within a 30 minute public transit commute of Downtown Vancouver.

Apartments within a 30 minute public transit commute of Vancouver.

Apartments within a 30 minute public transit commute of Downtown Vancouver.

Take Walk Score on the Go

Our award-winning Walk Score iPhone and Android apps let you take Walk Score on the go in Canada.  You can use our apps to get the Walk Score of any location and find apartments and rentals.

mobile-near-transit

 

Compare Commutes for Homes and Apartments

Commuting is expensive and nobody likes to be stuck in traffic.  Most of us want to live close to the people and places we love.

So today we’re launching a feature that lets you compare commute and travel times for any property.  Let’s say you’re looking for an apartment where you can drive to school and your roommate can take public transit downtown. Just add those commutes to your Favorites and you’ll see something like this:

Compare Commute Times

Or let’s say you’re looking at homes for sale on any of the 30,000 real estate sites that use Walk Score.  You can click on the score to visit Walk Score and start comparing the homes you’re considering.

To get started comparing commutes, just click the Favorites link at the top of this page.  You can compare travel times with and without rush hour traffic, by public transit, walking and biking.

compare-dialog

How much does your commute matter? Here are some of our favorite commuting facts:

  • Commuting by car is expensive. Be sure to consider the cost of your car, gas and parking when deciding where to live. The average American spends over $9,000 per year on their car. That’s the second largest expense for most households — and a lot of coin!
  • U.S. commuters waste over 4 billion hours per year in traffic. Commuting 10 extra minutes per day adds up to a full day over the course of a year! Imagine spending that time with your friends and family, working on your favorite hobby or volunteering in your community instead.
  • There’s even evidence that short commutes make you happier.

How do you calculate travel times?  Good question!  Our rush hour drive times give you an accurate picture of travel times during peak commute hours.  Rush hour drive times are based on average traffic in your city.  The rush hour times we show give you a 90% probability of arriving on time.  In other words, there’s a 10% chance you’ll have a longer commute due to an accident, snow storm, Super Bowl parade, etc.

We’ve also collected transit data from over 300 transit agencies to calculate public transit times and we use road network data from Open Street Map to compute walk and bike times.  Read more about our Travel Time API.

We look forward to helping you find a better commute!

New Ranking of Best U.S. Cities for Public Transit

Today we’re announcing a new ranking of the best cities in the United States for public transit.

We’ve calculated the Transit Score for 316 cities and almost 7,000 neighborhoods to help home shoppers and apartment hunters find places to live with better commutes and more transportation choices.

Where Can You Live Car-Free?

Here are the best U.S. cities for public transportation.

Rank City Transit Score
1 New York 81
2 San Francisco 80
3 Boston 75
4 Washington D.C. 70
5 Philadelphia 67

New Public Transit Ranking by Region

How does your city compare to other cities in your region?  See the full list of cities.

Regional Transit Score Ranking

The older Northeast cities with established subway systems have the highest scores.  West Coast cities that have made more recent investments in light rail also score well.  Although cities in the south have a low average Transit Score of 38, there are many neighborhoods with high scores such as Downtown Houston or the Brickell Neighborhood in Miami.

Living Near Public Transit

There’s growing evidence that buying a house or renting an apartment near public transit is a smart idea.

  • First, it’s likely a better investment.  The National Association of Realtors found that home values performed 42% better when they were located near public transit1.  In Boston, a recent study showed that home prices near public transit outperformed the region by 129%2.
  • Living near public transit saves you money. The average American spends $9,859 per year on their car3. Did you know this is the equivalent of a $135,000 mortgage?!  Transportation is the second largest expense for American households4.
  • And living near good public transit might just make you happier5 — after all, nobody likes being stuck in traffic.

Walk Score helps you find apartments near public transit with our unique search by commute time features.  Download our iPhone app or Android app to find a place to live with a better commute.

mobile-near-transit

Transit Score Ranking Methodology

Our ranking is based on the average resident’s access to public transit in a city.  To compute our ranking, we calculated the Transit Score of over 1.9  million locations in 316 cities.  We use a population-weighted methodology to compute the average Transit Score for a city.  Our top 10 cities list includes cities with populations over 500,000 people.  Read more about Walk Score methodology.