Are home values higher in walkable communities like Reston? Yes, says Christopher B. Leinberger, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
In an Op-Ed in Sunday's New York Times, Leinberger cites a a Brookings Institution study that measures values of commercial and residential real estate in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, which includes the surrounding suburbs in Virginia and Maryland.
Our research shows that real estate values increase as neighborhoods became more walkable, where everyday needs, including working, can be met by walking, transit or biking. There is a five-step “ladder” of walkability, from least to most walkable. On average, each step up the walkability ladder adds $9 per square foot to annual office rents, $7 per square foot to retail rents, more than $300 per month to apartment rents and nearly $82 per square foot to home values.
Demand for walkable urban space extends beyond city centers to suburbs; in metropolitan Washington, more than half of the walkable places are in the suburbs, like Reston Town Center, 22 miles from downtown Washington; Ballston, in Arlington County; and Silver Spring, in suburban Maryland. Residents can easily get to grocery stores, cafes, libraries and work by rail transit, biking and walking.
Leinberger says the current trend of "urbanization of the suburbs" has been boosted by baby boomers want to sell their large suburban houses and move to a walkable urban place but stay close to friends and family.