Monday, October 20, 2008

What is a walk score?

This past weekend, both Anja and I hosted an open house at 126 Noe St. This is a two bedroom, one bath condominium in Duboce Triangle, with a high end kitchen and bath remodel done in 2006. The price was just lowered to $901,500, includes one car independent parking, and extra storage in the garage. This property also has a "walk score" of 95 out of 100. This last point, along with the rest of the property profile, was printed on the flyer. It was something that many people had not seen on property advertisements, so we thought it would be a fun thing to explore.

If you are already very familiar with a neighborhood and its amenities, it may not be so helpful. But if you are exploring new neighborhoods, and especially if you are new to the city, this is a great tool to add to your home buying tool kit. The website is actually called Walk Score; their tag line is "Find a Walkable Neighborhood". It is definitely one of the most common criteria we hear from the buyers we meet, "I want to be able to walk to a cafe, a restaurant, or a BART station." Of course, these are all reasons to live in the city, and why home prices in San Francisco have been as stable as they are in this trying economic climate.

San Francisco has many wonderful neighborhoods to offer, all with their own commercial center, and wonderful places to meet, eat, and shop! Walk Score is yet another way to explore these neighborhoods. You can go to the website, and enter an address to get the score. The score is a number from 0 to 100; 100 being the best possible score. Their patented scoring system awards points based on the distance to the closest amenity in each category. A final score of 90-100 is a "Walker's Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car."

Their website lists 34 San Francisco neighborhoods; 17 of which scored in the 90th percentile or above. Here is a look at the top ten and their scores:

1. Chinatown--99
2. Financial District--99
3. Downtown--98
4. North Beach--98
5. Mission--96
6. Nob Hill--96
7. Pacific Heights--96
8. South of Market--96
9. Western Addition--95
10. Haight-Ashbury--95

Also interesting to point out, San Francisco ranks above New York in their overall scores:

San Francisco--86
New York--83

So add this to your tool kit when shopping for your home, or visit the website if you are curious about what is close to your home that you may not have noticed. You simply type in the address, and you will get a list of the businesses in each category, and how far it is from the address in question. It will all be mapped out for you; enjoy your walks!


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