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December 2013
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Patrick Gardner
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BUYING TRENDS: AMERICANS PREFER MIXED-USE, WALKABLE COMMUNITIES
New research by the National Association of Realtors® has consistently revealed that Americans prefer walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods and shorter commutes. According to NAR’s 2013 Community Preference Survey, 60% of respondents favor a neighborhood with a mix of houses, stores and other businesses that are within walking distance, over neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation.

Also, while the size of the property does matter to consumers, they are willing to compromise size for a preferred neighborhood and less commuting. For example, although 52% of those surveyed prefer a single-family house with a large yard,
78% responded that the neighborhood is more important to them than the size of the house
57% would forego a home with a larger yard if it meant a shorter commute to work
55% of respondents were willing to forego a home with a larger yard if it meant they could live within walking distance of schools, stores and restaurants

“Growth patterns, economic development and quality-of-life issues are inextricably linked to the success of communities and residents,” said NAR President Gary Thomas. “Realtors® build communities and care about improving those communities through smart growth initiatives. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, smart growth is typically characterized by mixed-use development, higher densities, and pedestrian-friendly streets that accommodate a wide diversity of transportation modes.”

The most popular choice among respondents? A suburban neighborhood with a mix of houses, shops and businesses. Least popular was a suburban neighborhood with just houses.

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