I was excited and honored to receive an email last week from John Yé, the mayor of Westwood. He had just read my last column on walkability and wanted to share with me that Westwood’s walkability score is a 57. Compare that to Prairie Village’s score of 35 and clearly Westwood is on to something. Actually, compared to all other NEJC cities, Westwood has the highest walk score according to Walk Score. Congratulations to Mayor Yé and his team of city councilors and other leadership! Personally, I am proud to have witnessed Westwood’s evolution over the length of my career and how they are embracing the fact that convenience and walkability are very important to the new families they are now attracting to Westwood.
It is no surprise to me that our most recent listing in Westwood sold the first day on the market with four offers. It was a feeding frenzy. As I shared in my last column, high walkability results in higher real estate values in 13 out of 15 real estate markets. Again, congratulations Westwood!
So now we know that Westwood is first in the local rankings. How do the other cities shake out?
- Westwood, KS – walk score 57
- Roeland Park, KS – walk score 43
- Prairie Village, KS – walk score 35
- Fairway, KS – walk score 34
- Overland Park, KS – walk score 33
- Leawood, KS – walk score 21
Please note that all of these walk scores are city wide. That being said, there are certainly specific areas of each city with higher walkability. For example, if you have a home near the Village Shops in Prairie Village, your neighborhood walk score is 67. Much better than the citywide score of 35, right? In Overland Park, the zip codes with the highest walk score are 66212, 66204, and 66223. In Leawood, the highest walk score of 25 goes to 66206. Which honestly makes sense: Leawood is known for its palatial lots and winding roads, not for its convenience to retail or other services. And to me…. that is okay.
Some residents want a lot of foot traffic and regular interaction with their neighbors. Some don’t. And again, that is okay.
I love the fact that we can help families buy and sell homes of all different ages, sizes, neighborhoods, etc…, and all within a 15 mile radius. Each individual family has an opportunity to choose the environment in which they will feel the most comfortable. To some, a lower walk score may be seen as a negative, while others may appreciate the fact that their neighborhood it tucked away and off of the beaten path.
From a resale perspective, I should close with saying that the old adage that it is all about “location, location, location” still holds true today. Although, it appears that the new generation of buyers might say that it would be more accurate to say that it is “proximity, proximity, proximity” to local schools, shops, and parks.