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NAR Study Finds Americans Prefer Smart Growth Communities

Media Contact: Michelle Wardlaw / 202-383-1042 / Email

WASHINGTON (April 4, 2011) - Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56 percent of respondents preferring smart growth neighborhoods over neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation. That’s according to a recent study, the Community Preference Survey, by the National Association of REALTORS®.

“REALTORS® care about improving communities through smart growth initiatives,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Our members don’t just sell homes, they sell neighborhoods. REALTORS® understand that different home buyers are looking for all kinds of neighborhood settings and that many home buyers want walkable, transit-accessible communities.”

Walkable communities are defined as those where shops, restaurants, and local businesses are within walking distance from homes. According to the survey, when considering a home purchase, 77 percent of respondents said they would look for neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features, and 50 percent would like to see improvements to existing public transportation rather than initiatives to build new roads and developments.

The survey also revealed that while space is important to home buyers, many are willing to sacrifice square footage for less driving. Eighty percent of those surveyed would prefer to live in a single-family, detached home as long as it didn’t require a longer commute, but nearly three out of five of those surveyed – 59 percent – would choose a smaller home if it meant a commute time of 20 minutes or less.

The survey also found that community characteristics are very important to most people. When considering a home purchase, 88 percent of respondents placed more value on the quality of the neighborhood than the size of the home, and 77 percent of those surveyed want communities with high-quality schools.

The survey of 2,071 adult Americans was conducted by Belden, Russonello and Stewart from February 15-24, 2011.

The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. All REALTORS® are members of NAR.

Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the News Media section.