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What is a Walk Score?

Flickr: Sean_Marshall

If you’re on the hunt for a new home or condo, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the term “walk score” in the real estate listings. Beside it, you’ll see a number, but what exactly does it mean?

A “walk score” is a measure of how easily residents can accomplish daily errands on foot. The closer a home or condo is to amenities such as grocery stores, drug stores, banks, restaurants, parks and entertainment, the more walkable it is considered to be.

The score itself is a number between 0 and 100. A score between 50 and 69 is considered somewhat walkable, with some errands accomplishable on foot. Walk scores between 70 and 100, on the other hand, are considered very walkable, where almost all errands can be accomplished without a car.

The idea for this measure was founded in Seattle, Washington, with a simple mission: to promote walkable neighbourhoods. Founders Mike Mathieu and Matt Lerner believed that walkable neighbourhoods were better for your health, your wallet and the environment. The two set out to develop a way for the average homebuyer to determine how walkable a given neighbourhood is – and with that, the walk score was born.

Now the only question is: is the walk score something you should seriously consider, before making your next home purchase? I think so.

Real estate is all about location, especially in the Toronto condo market, so a walk score is a very important factor for potential buyers to consider. Many buyers in urban settings prefer not to own a vehicle, so a high walk score would be important to them; it means they can carry out the majority of their daily activities on foot or with easy access to public transit.

Of course, if you don’t mind driving around to do your daily errands, or if you value having a big backyard more than being able to walk to a nearby park, then you shouldn’t put as much emphasis on the walk score during your home search.

If nothing else, the Walk Score feature on our website helps you gather information about different neighbourhoods and condo buildings in your search. Below the walk score itself, we list some of the closest restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, parks and other forms of entertainment, all of which may help you decide if this is the right condo or neighbourhood for you.

And for those who are also interested in how transit-friendly or bike-friendly their prospective neighbourhood is: Walk Score has also added bike scores and transit scores to their website.