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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis April 22, 2011
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Realtors: Americans Prefer Smart Growth Communities

More than half of U.S. residents surveyed by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)—56 percent—said they would prefer to live in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods rather than neighborhoods that would require more driving between home, work, and recreation. NAR defines the term “walkable communities” as referring to areas where shops, restaurants, and local businesses are within walking distance from homes.

As part of the Community Preference Survey, 77 percent of respondents said that, if they were considering buying a home, they would look for neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features. Fifty percent said they would like to see improvements to existing public transportation rather than initiatives to build new roads and developments.

The survey also revealed that, while the size of a house may be important to home buyers, many would sacrifice square footage for less driving. Eighty percent of those surveyed said they would prefer to live in a single-family, detached home as long as it did not require a longer commute, but nearly three out of five of those surveyed would choose a smaller home if its location meant a commute time of 20 minutes or less.

More than three-quarters of Americans (78 percent very or somewhat important) consider being within 30 minutes of work important in choosing where to live, making that one of the most important factors tested, behind privacy.

“REALTORS® care about improving communities through smart growth initiatives,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, RI. “Our members don’t just sell homes; they sell neighborhoods. They understand that different home buyers are looking for all kinds of neighborhood settings and that many home buyers want walkable, transit-accessible communities.”

The survey of 2,071 adult Americans was conducted by Belden, Russonello, and Stewart between Feb. 15 and 24. The survey questions and results are available online.
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