New research highlights rising demand for homes and businesses in walkable neighborhoods

A new report from The George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, in partnership with LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors and ULI Washington, reveals how walkable urban places and projects will drive tomorrow’s real estate industry and the U.S. economy, and outlines what actions are needed to take advantage of these market trends.

The report was released at an event yesterday in Washington, DC. Governor Parris Glendening, President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, gave the kickoff keynote of the day-long event. Glendening discussed the megatrends shaping the real estate market today, including changing demographics, new demand among consumers and emerging economic factors. These trends are all influencing the real estate market, Glendening explained, and are shaping how developers think about the built environment and economic development.

Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS and Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor at The George Washington University School of Business, then introduced the findings of the new report, “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call.” Far more than a niche, walkable urban places – or “walkUPs” – are becoming a formidable part of the national real estate market. WalkUPs are characterized as having higher density buildings, multiple modes of transportation, and many different real estate products in the same place. Rental and sales price premiums for this development is so high, the new report explains, it could take a generation of new construction to satisfy the demand.

“That’s the market telling you, dramatically, build more of this stuff,” Mr. Leinberger said to the Wall Street Journal last week. “There’s pent-up demand for walkable urban.”

The report calls for dramatically different approaches to urban design and planning, regulation and financing, many of which LOCUS advocates for. If you are interested in learning more about this work, add your name to LOCUS’ mailing list.

Nearly every walkable urban place uses smart growth strategies, but they do not define the only way these strategies can be used. Small towns and rural can use smart growth strategies as well, and many have with great success. The new ideas taking root among homebuyers in America is something every town and city can learn from, no matter their size or development pattern.

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