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Realtors Find Homebuyers Want Walkable Communities, to a Point

Developers and homebuilders aiming to create more traditional, walkable neighborhoods with nearby amenities should take some comfort they’re on the right track from a National Association of Realtors survey.The trade group’s survey found 47 percent of 2,071 questioned prefer to live in neighborhoods with a mix of houses, shops, restaurants and other business. They were split on just where they wanted that mix, with 19 percent looking to the city and the other 28 percent seeking a suburb with those attributes.

Only 12 percent said they would prefer the kind of housing-only subdivision often found in the suburbs, with the rest opting for small towns or the countryside. The survey appears to support the instincts of the homebuilders committed to the first residential phase of Jerome Village, the mixed-use community Columbus’ Nation- wide Realty Investors Ltd. is developing in Dublin.

But the preference for walkable, “smart- growth” communities does appear to have limits. The survey shows 80 percent of respondents prefer to living in single- family homes rather than townhouses, condominiums or apartments, to the extent that 59 percent said they would accept longer commutes and drives to shops and restaurants if it meant living in their own detached house.

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