A Walker’s Guide to Home Buying
Traffic jams and aging boomers spur a focus on walking distance; how to rate a climb

By NANCY KEATES

Jennifer and Andrew Greenberg didn’t fall in love at first sight with the 1950s ranch house they just bought in Portland, Ore. But they did feel that way about the neighborhood. They saw people out walking and noticed how close the house was to coffee shops and wooded paths. So they chose the home that needed more work over a comparably priced but more upscale option in another area. “When it came down to it, we weren’t willing to compromise on walkability,” says Ms. Greenberg, a 37-year-old event planner.

Today’s home buyers aren’t just looking for good schools and low crime rates when they evaluate a neighborhood, many brokers say. They’re paying much more attention to what they can walk to.

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