Research suggests denser development is good for single-family home values

Jun 26, 2012

How do denser neighborhoods affect property values? And what's the economic value of walkable neighborhoods?

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington College of Built Environments and a South Korean university shows that, contrary to popular belief, there's a positive association between higher neighborhood density and the value of single-family residential properties.

Researchers modeled the values of single-family homes, multifamily rental buildings, commercial spaces and offices in King County, Wash., which includes Seattle. They used property values as a measure of , analyzing them in relation to that correlate with walking, including access to open space and public transportation, mixed-use zoning and pedestrian infrastructure such as sidewalks.

They learned that pedestrian aids, such as and shorter street blocks, as well as a mix of retail, commercial and residential properties significantly contributed to increases in multifamily rental property values.

The researchers found that not only did the value of single-family residential properties increase with density of surrounding development, but that the quality of neighborhoods, as defined by access to other land uses, including parks, increased with density as well.

But one of the lead researchers suggested some caution: "We should be careful to put the research results in the context of King County, where high residential densities are not those of Manhattan, and a relatively small proportion of the housing stock is in high-rise development," said Anne Vernez Moudon, a UW professor of and planning who was one of the lead researchers.

"The results should not come as a complete surprise," Moudon said, "as it is well known that property values in neighborhoods like Queen Anne, packed with dense, single-family development and intermittent low-rise and condos near retail, are substantially higher than in some of the county's sprawling subdivisions."

It was more surprising, Moudon said, "to find that proximity to retail has a positive effect on multifamily rental properties, and that the value of retail properties benefited from strong pedestrian infrastructure."

Explore further: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

More information: "The Economic Value of Walkable Neighborhoods" was published in the April issue of Urban Design International.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dam removal increases property values

Apr 17, 2008

Two new studies appearing in Contemporary Economic Policy explore the impact of dam removal on local property values and find that property values increase after dams are removed.

This old healthy house

Jul 29, 2008

The age of your neighborhood may influence your risk of obesity, according to a new study from the University of Utah.

ZIP codes and property values predict obesity rates

Aug 29, 2007

Neighborhood property values predict local obesity rates better than education or incomes, according to a study from the University of Washington being published online this week by the journal Social Science and Medicine. For ea ...

Recommended for you

Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

18 hours ago

Science has often come to the rescue when it comes to the world's big problems, be it the Green Revolution that helped avoid mass starvation or the small pox vaccine that eradicated the disease. There is ...

Japan stem cell body splashes cash on luxury furniture

Apr 14, 2014

A publicly-funded research institute in Japan, already embattled after accusing one of its own stem cell scientists of faking data, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on designer Italian furniture, reportedly to use up ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Emanuelle
not rated yet Jul 11, 2012
"there's a positive association between higher neighborhood density and the value of single-family residential properties."

If the VALUE is higher, the COST is greater for a single-family to purchase such a residence. Isn't this a form of economic segregation: those with higher incomes can afford to live in high density areas near transportation and other amenities while those with lower incomes cannot?

More news stories

New clinical trial launched for advance lung cancer

Cancer Research UK is partnering with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer – marking a new era of research into personalised medicines ...

'Chief Yahoo' David Filo returns to board

Yahoo announced the nomination of three new board members, including company co-founder David Filo, who earned the nickname and formal job title of "Chief Yahoo."