Get Your Walk On In These Three Bay Area Cities
Why walkability matters
We recently partnered with WalkScore.com to conduct a study ranking the most walkable cities with the most affordable homes in the Bay Area, but outside the borders of San Francisco. The City by the Bay is infamous for its walkability and many of its residents get around on bike, public transit and foot; in fact, WalkScore ranks SF as the 2nd in the nation!
But with the average home price exceeding $1 million (yep, you read that right!), San Francisco is not a financially feasible option for most people. “One of the allures of living in San Francisco is the city’s beautiful and convenient walkability, and that appeal is well-reflected in its lofty real estate prices. With that in mind, we wanted to provide interested home buyers with more affordable options with great walkability beyond the city’s borders,” says CEO and President Lanny Baker.
And why does walkability matter? Walk Score’s CEO, Josh Herst, says, “The trend occurring in urban areas is moving toward less dependency on cars and a greater commitment to live more sustainably,” says Mr. Herst. “Furthermore, people in walkable neighborhoods weigh six to 10 pounds less than those who don’t. Walk Score has also done extensive research showing that walkable places make people happier and healthier. Finally, short commutes reduce stress levels and give people more free time to be involved in their communities.”
How we did the study
A WalkScore is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address. To calculate a score for a city (or neighborhood), Walk Score calculates the score of approximately every block across the city and then weights it by population density. Because we used citywide ratings for this study, the WalkScore of a specific address may vary from the city’s WalkScore.
We then took our data on median home prices to produce a walkability and affordability ratio. The following three cities have a WalkScore of 70 of higher (making them “Very Walkable”) and have median home prices near or below the Bay Area average of $620,000: Emeryville (City Center), Downtown San Jose and Albany.
The top 3 cities outside SF
Emeryville topped the list with a WalkScore of 80 and a median home price of only $388,888 - very affordable for the Bay Area! The city is made up of mostly condos, especially at lower price points.
What to walk to:
Stroll over to Bay Street for some shopping or to catch the latest Pixar movie at the theater - they’re made just across town! Plus, Emeryville is home to tons of outdoor art and a gorgeous stretch of the San Francisco Bay Trail.
San Jose came in second with a WalkScore of 74 and a median home price of $508,450. Again, the area is made of of mainly condos, making it more affordable for home buyers.
What to walk to:
Catch a Sharks game at the SAP Center or head to San Pedro Square every Tuesday night for “locals night” deals. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, there are a lot of reasons to get out and walk around town!
Albany is a charming town of mostly small single-family homes right outside Berkeley. Although its WalkScore is the highest of these three at 86, its home prices are also higher with a median price of $622,500. That’s still a lot less than San Francisco!
What to walk to:
The historic Albany Twin movie theater is a landmark of the town’s main shopping and business area, Solano Ave. Catch an early movie, then follow it up with dinner and drinks at any of the great restaurants on Solano like Little Star or Rivoli.
As you’re searching for homes for sale, be sure to check out a home’s WalkScore on the home detail page!