Preferable Communities

What makes a great neighborhood in America?

Mixed use and walkability, for starters.

According to the recent "Community Preference Survey" from the National Association of Realtors, 56 percent of respondents said they prefer smart-growth neighborhoods to ones that require more driving between home, work and recreation. Of these respondents, 60 percent indicated the convenience of being within walking distance to shops and restaurants.

Walk It Out

Walkable communities are defined as those where shops, restaurants and local businesses are within walking distance from homes.

Seventy-seven percent of survey respondents said they would look for neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features. Half of respondents also noted that they'd like to see improvements to existing public-transit infrastructure rather than initiatives to build new roads and developments.

While space is important, many homebuyers say they're willing to sacrifice square footage for less driving. Eighty percent of survey respondents noted that they'd prefer to live in a single-family detached home as long as it didn't require a longer commute, but 59 percent said they'd choose a small home if it came with a commute time of 20 minutes or less.

The survey of 2,071 adults found that nearly six in 10 would prefer to live in a neighborhood with a mix of houses and stores and other businesses within an easy walk. Four in ten prefer a housing-only community where residences need to drive to get to businesses.


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