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Why we want walkability

John McGrath
11 February 2020

Walkability is fast becoming a must-have feature of Australian homes, with buyers paying a premium for homes that are walking distance to shops, cafes, public transport options, schools and parks.

As our lives get busier and white collar work remains largely sedentary, buyers are willing to pay more for convenient, time-saving access to everything they need in life.

As discussed in our McGrath Report 2020, the emergence of small, thriving suburban villages and a strong café culture in Australia has made walkability even more desirable. Many suburbs have established villages with cafes providing a destination to relax or catch up with friends.

Walkability allows us to leave our cars at home, saving on petrol and emissions and ensuring we get a bit of exercise on weekends.

Walkability also enhances social interaction and that important feeling of community.

In one study cited in the landmark book, Livable Streets, Berkeley University urban design professor, Donald Appleyard found people living in walkable, low traffic streets had three times as many friends and twice as many acquaintances as people living in heavy traffic areas.

Walkable residential areas are also more valuable. Research shows a positive correlation between property prices and walkscore.com’s Walk Score, a measure of an address’s walkability on a scale of 0-100.

A US study by urban leadership group, CEOs for Cities, found a one-point increase in Walk Score raised house prices between $US500 and $US3,000 in 13 of the 15 US markets surveyed.

This is replicated in Australia. Melbourne buyers’ agency, Secret Agent, found a five-point increase in Walk Score between the values of 60 and 100 added around $298 per square metre for houses.

Walkability is an essential component of modern day liveability, according to 2017 study by RMIT University. The research found that “only a minority of residents in Australia’s cities live in walkable communities”, which goes some way to explaining why homes that offer great walkability can sell for more.

Here are the Top 10 suburbs in each of the East Coast capital cities based on their Walk Scores.

SYDNEY - City Walk Score

Walk Score 63

Top 10 Suburbs

  1. Haymarket 99
  2. The Rocks 98
  3. Sydney 98
  4. Ultimo 98
  5. Surry Hills 97
  6. Chippendale 97
  7. Millers Point 96
  8. Darlinghurst 96
  9. Newtown 95
  10. Rushcutters Bay 94

MELBOURNE - City Walk Score

Walk Score 57

Top 10 Suburbs

  1. Carlton 97
  2. Fitzroy 96
  3. Fitzroy North 93
  4. Melbourne 93
  5. St Kilda 93
  6. South Yarra 92
  7. East Melbourne 92
  8. South Melbourne 92
  9. Collingwood 92
  10. Windsor 91

BRISBANE - City Walk Score

Walk Score 51

Top 10 Suburbs

  1. Brisbane City 95
  2. Fortitude Valley 94
  3. Spring Hill 92
  4. South Brisbane 92
  5. Petrie Terrace 91
  6. New Farm 88
  7. Teneriffe 88
  8. West End 88
  9. Milton 87
  10. Woolloongabba 87

CANBERRA - City Walk Score

Walk Score 40

Top 10 Suburbs

  1. Canberra City 95
  2. Kingston 83
  3. Barton 82
  4. Reid 79
  5. Braddon 73
  6. Turner 72
  7. Phillip 71
  8. Belconnen 71
  9. Griffith 68
  10. Dickson 65
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