As the demand for rental properties continues to rise and the number of quality vacancies declines, landlords can look at growing trends in property desirability in order to stay competitive and attract the best tenants.  One of the most marketable qualities of a rental property is its walkability.  Walkability is a measure of how friendly an area is to walking, including the presence of pathways and sidewalks, user enjoyment, safety, and proximity to area amenities like schools, parks, restaurants, and shops.

As the millennial generation becomes key contributors in the housing market, their awareness for healthy living, a cleaner environment and a limited expendable income may contribute to the resurgence of walkable neighborhoods.  A 2014 report from The George Washington University School of Business notes that the housing market is moving away from the 1950s suburban developments that required a longer commute but larger houses to the modern development of sacrificing space for access to more walkable amenities.

This finding is according to a survey released last year by the National Association of Realtors where respondents indicated that, while the size of the property does matter to consumers, they are willing to compromise size for a preferred neighborhood and less commuting.  The report also notes that an ideal community included a mix of houses, shops, and business.

As a landlord, you can highlight the benefits of your rental property’s walkability to potential tenants.  A high walkability helps your tenants meet their new year’s fitness goals.  Your tenants will save money on gas and vehicle maintenance by keeping the car in park and opting to walk instead of drive.  And they can contribute towards a cleaner environment by minimizing pollutants associated with driving.

Walk Score is an online tool that landlords can use to determine their property’s walkability.  Walk Score’s supporting research notes that a higher walk score can lead to higher housing prices, which is great news for rental property owners who want to maximize their rental income.  Sites like Walk Score let a landlord access information about neighborhood restaurants, stores, schools, parks and more, highlighting features that will appeal to potential tenants.   Marketing a rental property’s walkability will increase desirability, helping fill vacancies faster and raise potential rental income.

As a landlord, have you noticed an increase in demand for rental property walkability?