Understanding how a Walk Score works

couple walking a poodle

One of the things that can help homebuyers make a decision to make an offer on a home is whether or not it has a high Walk ScoreⓇ. You’ve probably noticed a Walk Score on most listings since a good Walk Score can help increase the value and competition for any particular property. But where does that number come from? Knowing what a Walk Score is and how it’s calculated can help you make an informed decision about a property before you commit to purchasing it. 

Flyhomes agents are ready and available to answer any more questions you have about a home’s Walk Score, whether you’re looking to buy or sell.

What is a walk score? 

A Walk Score tells you how close a property is to popular and necessary amenities. A home with a higher walk score is within walking distance to things like schools, grocery stores, night life, or medical services. On a scale of 0 to 100, the higher the number, the better the walk score. According to a recent report by Redfin, a high Walk Score can increase a home’s value by as much as 23% in certain neighborhoods, when compared to similar houses where you’d need a car to get around. 

Where did Walk Score come from?

Walk Score started in 2007 by tech entrepreneur Mike Mathieu as one of the first projects in his tech incubator, Front Seat. It was designed as a specific product that businesses and properties could use to show potential customers or clients just how walkable they were. 

Walk Score evolved to become a nearly universal element of real estate listings until it was bought by Redfin in 2014. But its original mission has stayed the same—to help you understand how easy it is to live in a place if you don’t have a car. 

How is it calculated?

First, a Walk Score uses neighborhood boundaries from real estate data as well as Google location services. Then, the algorithm calculates the distance from your address to all the available amenities in your area. Depending on how far away you’d have to walk, or how long it would take to walk there, the destination gets a score anywhere between zero and 100. Places that are a quarter mile or less from your address get the highest score and places that are over a mile away get a zero. Neighborhoods that score a 70 or above are considered very walkable. The best scores are 90 and higher. 

Here is how Walk Score breaks down their grades: 

90-100: Walker’s Paradise. Daily errands don’t require a car. 

70-89: Very Walkable. Most errands can be accomplished on foot. 

50-69: Somewhat Walkable. Some errands can be accomplished on foot. 

25-49: Car-Dependent. Most errands require a car. 

0-24: Car-Dependent. Almost all errands require a car. 

Walk Score also looks at population density and road characteristics like block length and intersection density. Walk Score doesn’t consider things like scenery or cleanliness. It is not a measure of how pretty a walk is. 

What amenities does the score measure?

Walk Score measures amenities in thirteen categories: bars, restaurants, fitness centers, grocery stores, coffee shops, movie theaters, schools, drug stores, hardware stores, clothing and music stores, parks, libraries, and book stores. Walk Score also produces transit scores and bike scores to show you how much effort you’d have to put into getting to places on your bike or bus. 


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