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By Brett Warren

Will “walkable” suburbs outperform in the future?

You often hear location is paramount when choosing a great investment property.

But what makes a good location? 


While a lot of factors come into play, easy access to facilities must be near the top of the list.

Walking distance to transport, shops and the café lifestyle is one of the strongest trends attracting buyers and tenants.

This is particularly so among the growing demographic living in apartments in our inner suburbs.

Australian cities have been ranked by WalkScore

Well…now you can find out how “walkable” your suburb is., which measures the number of typical consumer destinations within walking distance of a dwelling, with scores ranging from 0 (car dependant) to 100 (most walkable) has recently ranked more than 100 Australian cities and 3,000 suburbs.

With a Walk Score of 63, Sydney comes out on top in the ranking of The Most Walkable Australian Cities and Suburbs.

But of course, you're not really interested in the WalkScore of a particular city – especially in a city the size of Sydney or Melbourne.

What you are really interested in is the walkability of a specific property in a particular location in one of our cities.

While a number of real estate websites have incorporated WalkScore and more are likely to follow, of course, the walkability index has a number of shortcomings.

Consider the low-scoring regional dweller who enjoys walking their dog on a rural path.

Not to mention that what one person considers a “walkable” trip may seem like an epic hike to another.

Walk Score’s ranking of the top 10 largest Australian cities

Here is how our cities ranked:

  1. Sydney (Walk Score: 63)
  2. Melbourne (Walk Score: 57)
  3. Adelaide (Walk Score: 54)
  4. Brisbane (Walk Score: 51)
  5. Perth (Walk Score: 50)
  6. Newcastle (Walk Score: 49)
  7. Wollongong (Walk Score: 48)
  8. Gold Coast (Walk Score: 48)
  9. Central Coast (Walk Score: 41)
  10. Canberra (Walk Score: 40)

While this is interesting, as I said what is more important is that in every city some suburbs are more walkable than others.

Walk scores are also turning up in a number of property portals and agents websites and you can expect to see more in the future.


What does all this mean?

Over the past decade, home values in Sydney’s walkable neighbourhoods have outperformed the rest of the city and can attract a 20% premium.

It was much the same overseas where studies indicate that properties with above-average levels of walkability command a premium over homes with average levels of walkability.

It gets even better…

Walkable neighbourhoods offer a number of health and economic benefits.

For example, a 10-year-long study of Australians by the University of Melbourne found that walkable neighbourhoods with proximity to shops, parks and public transit improve people’s health and well-being.

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Note: And as our population grows, and our cities become more dense, I see the importance of easy access to amenities and walkability becoming more important.

Moving forward people will pay a premium to be in the right neighbourhood

If Coronavirus taught us anything, it was the importance of living in the right type of property in the right neighbourhood.

Neighbourhood Suburb

In our new “Covid Normal” world, people will pay a premium for the ability to work, live and play within a 20-minute drive, bike ride or walk from home.

They will look for things such as shopping, business services, education, community facilities, recreational and sporting resources, and some jobs all within 20 minutes of reach.

Residents of these neighbourhoods have now come to appreciate the ability to be out and about on the street socialising, supporting local businesses, being involved with local schools, and enjoying local parks.

Add to this the fact that 22% of our population are living alone, then the opportunity to stroll up the road to visit their favourite café for a coffee or a meal is particularly important to them.

So when you’re looking at buying your next home or investment property consider its proximity to amenities.

About Brett Warren Brett Warren is National Director of Metropole Properties and uses his two decades of property investment experience to advise clients how to grow, protect and pass on their wealth through strategic property advice.

I am in Hobart and I live within a 2 minute drive, 3 minute cycle or 10 minute walk of the CBD,all medical facilities, schools, the university, 160 plus restaurants, bars and cafes, supermarkets, cinemas,theatres etc at my walkability score is only 9 ...Read full version

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Investors should seriously consider walk scores before investing in real estate. However, as you correctly point out the basis of the score is flawed. eg I live in the Adelaide hills, with a low walk score even though I advocate walking. This seeming ...Read full version

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I like the concept, but I think the underlying data is incomplete. Eg a place 50m from bus, local shops and restuarants, 300m from train station and 1km from major suburban shopping should rate highly, but doesn't. I suspect there are some American b ...Read full version

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