Oliver Baumeister von Bretten, Broker | Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage

What Is Walk-Score and the Reasons You Should Care

A man walking in Toronto with the CN Tower in the background.

Walk score is a tool that offers walkability services and accommodation search tools through mobile applications and its website. The walkability index designates a numerical walkability score to locations in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Walk score studies the distance covered by walking, biking & using public transport to reach nearby amenities like schools, parks, restaurants, supermarkets, libraries, colleges, etc. It’s important for Real Estate listings to have a good walk score because it increases the liveability of a place and offers many conveniences to a homeowner.

The Walk Score algorithm points to an address based on the distance to the nearest amenity. If the nearest amenity is within 0.25 miles, then the region gets the maximum number of points. The points reduce as the distances increase. A neighbourhood does not get any points for amenities that are available beyond 1 mile. All amenities are put in proper categories.

Points get proper distribution equally within categories, and then the result in a cumulative score between 0-100. The number of amenities decides how much people walk in the area.


A man walking in Toronto with the CN Tower in the background. Photo by Arturo Castaneyra


Why is Walk Score Important?

The ability to walk, drive or take transit is an important piece of every individual’s lifestyle.  In the city, walk score is higher compared to suburban areas of the Greater Toronto Area.  Determining how important walkability is to you and your lifestyle and then using tools to research the walk score of a property you’re interested in buying or renting is a very important process.  Here’s why you should consider living in a location that has a decent walk score:


Walkability Increases The Value Of A Residence And Reduces Overhead Costs

If an address has high walkability, it will have sky-high prices. It might be a bane for someone willing to shift to a walkable neighbourhood if it’s expensive. However, investing in a walkable location will reduce other overhead costs.

Canadian Automobile Association reports that it costs $8,500 to $13,000 annually to operate a personal car in Canada. This means that if someone lives in an area with high walkability, major travel costs can be avoided. The high cost of purchasing a home will be compensated for future savings.


House-Hunters Want An Ecologically Sustainable and Environment-Friendly Life

Today, people looking for their safe havens need high walkability as a criterion. This is because real estate agents and environmentalists have finally revealed their benefits. The real estate industry has reported that soon, the market will have unbelievable demands for homes with high walkability.

Several factors affect the decision to buy a house. Currently, the globe is facing serious health and environmental issues. People want nothing more than to be able to breathe in the fresh air and be surrounded by greenery. Urban efficiency is a key requirement for most people today.

An environmentally sound neighbourhood will only survive if the surrounding areas reduce motor vehicles. The key advantage of having a high walkability score is that most people in the area will not use their vehicles to reach nearby amenities.


Key Takeaways

Currently, buyers are not as bothered about the size of their houses as they are about quality living. This sudden shift has taken place in the past few years due to the drastic change in the environment.

Issues like global warming have affected people personally and made them more aware. Most real estate companies aim at providing people with the chance to be closer to nature. Walk score is becoming a crucial criterion for real estate agents as well as home buyers. The primary reason is that walkability will not just give everyone better health and living but also help save money.


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