During the pandemic, the shift to an outdoor lifestyle became a top priority for many Americans, especially as the emphasis was placed social distancing. But the majority of Americans are continuing to prioritize outdoor features when deciding where to live, even after the public health emergency has ended.
According to the 2023 Community & Transportation Preferences Survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 85% of Americans said sidewalks and places to walk are “very/somewhat” important when choosing community attributes they find desirable.
The survey is conducted every three years to gauge respondents’ preferences on their home’s location or potential location and the community attributes they find desirable.
“With COVID in our rearview mirror, this study shows that a substantial demand for walkability persists for Americans of all ages,” said NAR President Kenny Parcell. “NAR has conducted community preference surveys for over 20 years, providing Realtors and their communities with valuable information on shifting American lifestyles and migration trends. To help local communities and Realtor associations improve the places they live, NAR generates this survey and makes the results available to all.”
According to the survey results, 79% of people say that living within an easy walk of other shops and parks is “very/somewhat” important. Of those respondents, 78% say they would be willing to pay more to live in a walkable community.
But paying more money wasn’t the only compromise respondents were willing to make for walkability. Over half (56%) of respondents say they would prefer real estate with a small yard and be able to walk to places.
On the other hand, 44% say they would prefer a large yard and would need to drive to most places.
Additionally, 53% of respondents say they would prefer to own or rent an attached dwelling, like a townhouse, condo or apartment, and be able to walk to shops, restaurants while having a short commute to work.
Conversely, 47% say they would prefer to own or rent a single-family home and have to drive to shops, restaurants and a longer commute.
Additionally, 65% of respondents say that having public transportation nearby is “very/somewhat” important, according to the survey results.