‘EASY WALK’ OPENS THE GAIT TO AM­BI­GU­ITY

The Courier-Mail - Property - - REALESTATE NEWS -

What ex­actly is “within easy walk­ing dis­tance”? Has some­one checked and what was the level of fit­ness of said tester?

This rather am­bigu­ous real es­tate term can of­fer a rather con­fused mes­sage. To me, an easy walk is 10 to 15 min­utes on a dry, slightly cloudy, mild day where no hills are in­volved. To my 10-year-old, it is no fur­ther than the end of the drive with­out re­quest­ing some form of wheeled trans­port.

I feel it is time to es­tab­lish some bench­marks so when this term is used in real es­tate we all understand what you, as a buyer, should be ex­pect­ing.

I sug­gest the way to cal­cu­late this will be to con­sider how far an av­er­age adult takes to walk a kilo­me­tre. Ac­cord­ing to that interweb thing there ap­pears to be a con­sen­sus of opin­ion that the typ­i­cal speed is 5kph.

How­ever, is walk­ing for an hour that easy? Car­ry­ing chil­dren, shop­ping or adding that time to a bus or train com­mute to work, in th­ese sit­u­a­tions, makes hour too long.

So to set a bench­mark I be­lieve it could be agreed that 10 min­utes – that is about 800m – would be a very easy walk for most, even when car­ry­ing loads. The 20-minute du­ra­tion is still pretty easy cov­er­ing about 1600m. But how about the 2.5km, 30-minute walk? Is that easy? I would ar­gue when try­ing to catch a train or find the near­est bus stop, this could be a bit too far.

In con­clu­sion from my in-depth anal­y­sis, the zero- to 20-minute pe­riod can of­fi­cially be noted un­der the head­ing “easy”. The 20- to 30-minute trip is push­ing it. And over that, well, forget it.

I be­lieve for many pur­chasers the ap­peal of an “easy walk” to ameni­ties and pub­lic trans­port can really make the dif­fer­ence. For sell­ers, this can mean those ex­tra few dol­lars for your home when you come to sell.

Per­son­ally, I only ever live in homes, or in­vest for that mat­ter, in prop­er­ties with lo­ca­tions in that “easy walk” cat­e­gory. The qual­ity and range of what is close enough to be able to ac­cess on foot de­pends on your lo­ca­tion type, i.e. ur­ban, sub­ur­ban or coun­try town. I have ex­cluded acreage liv­ing as this hous­ing op­tion of­fers space in ex­change for con­ve­nience. The in­ter­est­ing el­e­ment to this is your sub­urb will dic­tate the qual­ity and type of ameni­ties close at hand on foot. For sub­ur­ban ar­eas, just hav­ing a park, a cor­ner shop, even a cof­fee shop will really add buyer ap­peal. If you add in pub­lic trans­port and a wider range of shops or eater­ies, you could find the ap­peal and maybe the value of home com­pa­ra­bly higher.

Ur­ban lo­ca­tion buy­ers will ex­pect more and the fur­ther away from ameni­ties, the lower your sale value.

Even in our coun­try towns, it can be pos­si­ble to at least have the school, a bus stop and a park within an easy walk.

So next time you read this real es­tate term, quan­tify the fig­ures against my deeply sci­en­tific “easy walk” bench­marks and if it is more than 20 min­utes, in­form the agent of their er­ror. You can even quote my ar­ti­cle.

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