'Walkability' steps into the spotlight for investors

“The city of Calgary has seen inner-city neighbourhood real estate prices skyrocket in recent years as people become fed up with long commute times from outer suburbs,” writes REIN in a recent commentary. “Between 2000 and 2012, the 10 communities that saw the largest spikes in average home prices were in the city’s core and surrounding neighbourhoods.”

Of these 10 neighbourhoods, the average home price increased between 205-260 per cent, something the Calgary Real Estate Board is crediting in no small way to the pedestrian lifestyle they encourage.

The MLS system now reflects that new emphasis, with the inclusion of the Walkability index for new listings based on their postal code.

Investors as well as homebuyers are increasingly relying on a property’s score there to determine value retention and future demand.

It means that suburban subdivisions are falling more and more out of favour with urban-minded renters as well.

That’s likely to challenge the single-family strategy of both flippers and buy-and-hold investors, suggest some industry experts.

The trend towards a pedestrian lifestyle also points investors to neighborhoods for future acquisition, with location once again appearing to trump almost all other factors.

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