Americans are placing greater value on homes in close proximity to nearby shops, cafes and parks—and they may even pay more for such properties, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ newly released 2023 Community & Transportation Preferences Survey. So, if you have a listing near neighborhood amenities, you may want to promote that heavily in your marketing.
Seventy-nine percent of respondents rate proximity as “very” or “somewhat” important, and 78% say they’d pay more for a home in a proximate community, the survey shows. Young adults prioritize proximity the most, with 90% of Gen Z and millennial respondents indicating they’d pay more for a home in a this type of community; a third say they’d “pay a lot more.” The survey did not specify how much more they’d be willing to pay.
Gen Z and Millennials Most Likely to Say They Will Pay More to Live in Communities that are Close to Shops, Parks, Cafes etc.
Looking Around: What’s Near the Home?
Proximity became more of a focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, but demand has only grown since. In fact, NAR’s biennial survey shows a modest uptick in consumer demand for homes that offer greater accessibility to surrounding community areas. “With COVID in our rearview mirror, this study shows that substantial demand for proximity persists for Americans of all ages,” says NAR President Kenny Parcell.
About half of the survey’s 2,000 respondents say they prefer a this type of community and shorter commute, even if it means living in an attached home, such as a townhome or condo, or having a smaller yard. Indeed, the majority of survey respondents say they prefer a house with a small yard over one with a larger yard that is further away from amenities.
The NAR survey also uncovered some generational differences in these preferences.
Generational Variance on Proximity and Commute Times - Sidewalks important to all; Commute times less important to older generations
The NAR survey looked at the following community and transportation traits that consumers consider when deciding where to buy a home: proximity to amenities; commute length and proximity to highways; access to public transportation; and access to bike paths. Here’s how those traits were valued by respondents:
Very important: 50%
Somewhat important: 34%
Having easy access to community amenities
Very important: 41%
Somewhat important: 38%
Being within a short commute to work
Very important: 40%
Somewhat important: 32%
Having public transit nearby
Very important: 36%
Somewhat important: 29%
Easy access to the highway
Very important: 34%
Somewhat important: 40%
Bike lanes and paths nearby
Very important: 22%
Somewhat important: 33%
Ranking Community Priorities
Respondents to the NAR survey who already live in a community with easy access to amenities, report feeling happier with their life, the NAR survey finds. But consumers also value other neighborhood virtues. Overall, the NAR survey found the following as the most preferred home and community qualities (ranked in order):
Low levels of crime
Proximity to shops and restaurants
High-quality public schools
Survey respondents say they believe the government has a role to play in helping their communities become more desirable. Consumers identified the following as the top issues they’d like the government to prioritize:
Maintaining and repairing roads, highways, freeways and bridges.
Expanding public transportation, including trains and buses.
Building more roads and expanding existing roads to help reduce traffic congestion.
Providing convenient alternatives to driving, such as walking, biking and public transportation.
Making it easier to develop communities where people can walk, work or shop.