Dense Neighborhoods Are Good for Single Family House Values

Yet another study demonstrates that dense neighborhoods – close to neighbors and close to stuff (coffee, parks, grocery, library, schools – you know, stuff) is valuable.

They learned that pedestrian aids, such as sidewalks and shorter street blocks, as well as a mix of retail, commercial and residential properties significantly contributed to increases in multifamily rental property values.

The researchers found that not only did the value of single-family residential properties increase with density of surrounding development, but that the quality of neighborhoods, as defined by access to other land uses, including parks, increased with density as well.

In December 2010, a similar story was published, and I wrote about it then – Walkability = Happiness – And why Does this Matter to Charlottesville Real Estate?

The 2010 study noted:

A walkable community provides residents with easy access to post offices, town parks and playgrounds, coffee shops, restaurants, barbershops and club meeting venues. The ability to walk to these important locations in one’s home neighborhood has been linked to a higher quality of life.

Social capital, a measure of an individual’s or group’s networks, personal connections, and community involvement, brings benefits such as reduced isolation, career connections, and neighborhood safety. What Rogers and her team’s work suggests is that it is these benefits — facilitated by living in a walkable community — that enhance an individual’s quality of life.

The answer remains the same – home buyers, renters, people – want to be close to stuff.

Warning: slight tangent follows …

As, if not more importantly, is the continuing segmentation of the Charlottesville-Albemarle (CharlAlbemarle) region. From 2007:

Another impact may be the further segmentation of our market. What I mean by this is that some parts of the city and county are becoming relatively ignorant of each other, as the residents don’t need to leave their respective worlds. As each neighborhood develops continues to evolve and develop and re-develop its own identity, residents may become more involved hyper-locally but less-so in the greater Charlottesville area. These existing developments are poised to take advantage of the re-emerging trends of *gasp* walking and biking to work and play.

This segmentation is set to get more pronounced. Wegman’s grocery store is coming to the southern part of Charlottesville (the City). Stonefield (Trader Joe’s, etc) is rising. Side note: my wife was driving to work the other day, looked around Hydraulic Road and 29 and thought she was in Northern Virginia..

More and more, my incoming buyer clients are immediately eliminating geographic segments of the market; which one do you think they scratch first?

If you’re searching for the most single family homes for sale in Charlottesville and Albemarle, start here.

Have a question about the Charlottesville real estate market? Don’t’ quite trust Google + Walkscore to have the most up to date data? (they don’t) Ask me a question about Charlottesville neighborhoods … I won’t try to sell you or add you to any list … I hate spam, and having people hate me because I spam them is bad business. :)

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About Jim Duncan

Father, husband, Charlottesville real estate agent, bicycle rider & soccer coach. And more. Lots more.
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