Despite the ongoing pandemic, a new National Assocation of Realtors survey shows demand for walkable communities persisting seven months into the pandemic.

The study confirms many of the migration trends that had been anticipated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although generally done every two years, NAR conducted a pair of Community and Transportation Preference Surveys in 2020 to accurately register the impacts of the coronavirus.

Seeking More

According to a NAR news release the latest iteration shows younger Americans – particularly those with children – have been most affected, although those who live in walkable communities register a higher quality of life than those who live in less walkable areas.

“NAR has conducted community preference surveys for over 20 years, providing Realtors and their communities with decades of information regarding changing American lifestyles and migration trends,” said NAR President Vince Malta in the news release. “In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, this data has become even more consequential, helping local communities and Realtor associations implement various smart growth changes to account for these shifts.”

Millenials and Gen Y

According to the same NAR study, those Americans under 40 (millennials and Generation Y) are most likely to say their overall quality of life has been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, while they also note a reduced need to reside near highways, public transit,, or their place of work.

“Although COVID has dramatically changed people’s lives, this study shows that a substantial demand for walkability persists for Americans of all ages,” Malta added in the NAR news release.

Findings and Data

Among other noteworthy findings of the NAR July survey:

Respondents who strongly agree that there are “lots of places to walk nearby” show an 8% increase in quality of life.

Families with children attending school show an increased desire for detached homes and larger, more spacious yards.

In February, a majority of those Americans polled said they preferred a much smaller yard in a walkable community.

The importance of easy access to various public transit and major highways and thoroughfares in the desired areas dropped 8% and 5%, respectively, from pre-pandemic levels.

Americans older than 55 and those with higher incomes show an increased interest in walkability.

NAR’s biannual Community & Transportation Preferences Survey polls residents in America’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. The first 2020 survey was conducted in February, immediately before the impacts of COVID-19 began to be felt, and again at the end of July.

Source: NAR