Why is there the hubbub about “walkable and rideable” neighborhoods?
It is elementary, my friends. The convenience of shopping, restaurants, art and music activities, river trails and open space are opportunities for everyone to appreciate.
Most of the conversation today revolves around millennials and their desire for community and attributes in their neighborhoods that include bike riding, walking and the charm of older neighborhoods and homes. It is said they desire greater ethnic diversity and that they embrace culinary variety and experience. They are also proponents of bike commuting and public transportation.
The conversation is not limited to the millennials, as baby boomers are now finding and appreciating the same quality of life. In real estate, we see a desire that crosses all generations but that is spurred by the large number of baby boomers and millennials.
It reminds me of public comment in the 1990s by Bob Allen, a well-respected real estate appraiser in Durango. Bob has worked hard the last 20 years to tell people in Durango the value of maintaining our vibrant downtown community by having more housing nearby. He has been a proponent of our new mixed-use buildings that include residential condos and townhomes.
The City Council has also provided a means for increasing the ability of people to live near downtown. Mayor Christina Rinderle has fought hard to provide legal accessory dwelling units, which have opened up more affordable housing opportunities near downtown.
Cities and communities like Durango are transforming their historic downtowns to encourage people to return. A few years ago, the Sonoran Institute provided a research study that spanned across communities in the West, and it showed people would pay more to have walkable and rideable attributes.
I did some research to see if values have increased more in the historic and mid-century neighborhoods of Durango, and here is what I have found: Those neighborhoods have increased in value 7.1 percent annually over the last five years for single-family homes. The overall Durango in-town market, which also includes these neighborhoods but spans a larger geographical area, have increased 5.9 percent annually, and single-family homes in Durango rural have increased 3.7 percent annually. This is not an exhaustive study, but it does support the value seen in our communities close to downtown.
Expect the trend on moving to walkable and rideable neighborhoods to continue. There is strong demand and very little supply.
Don Ricedorff is a Realtor at The Wells Group in Durango, and a past president of the Durango Area Association of Realtors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.