Millennials are not the only generation preferring proximity to restaurants and retail.
Americans born between the mid-1920s up until 1945—the “Silent Generation”—are also on the lookout for walkability. Fifty-five percent of members of the Silent Generation recently surveyed by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) favor neighborhoods close for commuting and/or walkability—not far off from the 62 percent of millennials surveyed who prefer the same. Both generations would live in an apartment or townhouse if it meant a closer commute and/or walkability, according to findings from the survey. Fifty-one percent of all of the adults surveyed, regardless of generation, believe quality of life is impacted by walkability.
The generations between millennials and the Silent Generation, however—baby boomers and Generation X—are partial to the suburbs. Fifty-five percent of both boomers and Gen Xers are okay with the trade-off: driving to establishments, recreation and work for a single-family home.
There are age- and gender-based interests, as well. When buying a home, younger women look for public transit and walkability more so than younger men, but both younger men and younger women seek short commute times, according to the survey.
All told, 60 percent of all of the adults surveyed would rather reside in a single-family home. Another 60 percent, though, would spend more to live in an area with greater walkability. The majority of adults with children (another 60 percent, still) are interested in the acreage and square footage of the suburbs.
Infrastructure plays a role, according to the survey. Eighty-six percent of all of the adults surveyed perceive sidewalks positively, and 73 percent believe road maintenance and repair is important.
“REALTORS® understand that when people buy a home, they are not just looking at the house; they are looking at the neighborhood and the community,” says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “While the idea of the ‘perfect neighborhood’ is different for every homeowner, more Americans are expressing a desire to live in communities with access to public transit, shorter commutes and greater walkability.”
Helping the movement are real estate professionals, Mendenhall says.
“REALTORS® work tirelessly at improving their communities through smart growth initiatives that help transform public spaces into these walkable community centers.”