Chicago Home Values Could Be Higher for a 'Walker's Paradise'

In all of my 20 years of working in Chicago real estate, I’ve always peppered my clients with questions so I can get to know more about their lifestyle—what do they do on the weekends? Are they big travelers? Do they like art? Dogs? Shopping? Getting a feel for their lifestyles helps me direct them toward a neighborhood that will make enjoying these things most convenient. For Chicago homes, one big factor in this is walkability. With many rich, dense neighborhoods, Chicago affords the opportunity to have everything from airport transportation to the symphony to top-rated restaurants within a few blocks from your front door. generates a score of up to 100 for any U.S. address. The site deems much of Chicago a “Walker’s Paradise,” and a few neighborhoods in particular are below:
Lakeview: 97
Gold Coast: 98
Lincoln Park: 95
Bucktown: 85
River North: 98
Having represented more than $200 million in Chicago new construction, I’ve found that the more dense an area—being a stone’s throw from stores, bars, restaurants and entertainment—the more expensive the real estate. A recent article in the New York Times cited a study that found that street corners fare better than suburban areas in terms of real estate value. The study said Chicago homes in particular that had a premium walk score could be worth as much as $30,000 more than a less-walkable suburban home. One example even valued a specific Chicago home at $66,000 more than a comparable suburban home, which had suffered more in 12 months of declining real estate prices.
So not only does a Chicago home or Chicago condo in denser neighborhood put everything right outside your front door, the value of your home could retain itself significantly better than if you bought in a suburban area. When the real estate market was booming, I often suggested to my clients to purchase in an area where there was a large development being built. The development itself would help establish the neighborhood, thus increasing density and resale value for the home. Many of my clients who followed this rationale saw the value of this when it came time to resell their homes.
Considering the current Chicago real estate market, a variable like walkability is something to consider in order to maximize the return on your investment.
Contact agent Sheldon Salnick at (312) 498-5080 or by email at