Boston's Walkable South End Neighborhood Takes Gold

The following is an excerpt from our Fall 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report, a report on the state of the South End real estate market and a glimpse into life in our neighborhood. You can download the full report here.


When people talk about why they love living in the South End, they often mention how everything seems to be just a short walk from their front door. It's no secret that walkability is one of the South End's most enticing features and adds to the quality of neighborhood life, especially during these cool autumn months.

The George Washington University School of Business published a study just this year on the rising popularity of "walkable urbanism" throughout the nation.

Metropolitan areas in the US were recently ranked based on the proximity of office and retail space to residential properties. Boston ranked third overall -- just behind Washington, DC, and New York City -- with an astounding 57 established WalkUPs, or Walkable Urban Places, and 14 more in development.

Boston has long been on the cutting edge of New Urbanism -- an urban design movement that promotes walkability -- and we have no plans of slowing down. Experts predict the city will rise from third to first place in coming years, based on plans to further develop walkable urban areas.

This is welcome news for Boston property owners. Multiple studies over the years have shown that walkability is positively correlated with higher property values and that prices in WalkUPs are higher on average by up to 200%. 


Walk Score, the authority in the field of urban walkability, has always been fond of the South End, calling it "a walker's paradise" with "world-class public transportation" and a Walk Score of 96. The study from George Washington University supports this claim.

Among Boston's 57 WalkUPs, locations are sorted by a medal tally ranking system: copper, silver, gold, and platinum. The South End scored solid gold in all categories, including rent prices, job density, transit accessibility, and more.

Surprisingly, "accessibility to a great tapas bar" was not factored in, or else the South End would have gone platinum. Based on current trends, we indeed see a double platinum rating in South End's future. 

Sources: The Center for Real Estate And Urban Analysis School of Business, The George Washington University, Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America's Largest Metros, Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. Cities, Effects of Walkability on Property Values and Investment Returns

Find this story and more in our Fall 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report. Read all about the latest real estate trends, forecasts, and an in-depth look at the South End community.