“Walkability” is the newest hot amenity in luxe living

Buyers seek out homes in walkable neighborhoods

The newest luxury in Los Angeles real estate is this thing called walking.

In a city known for its car-friendly culture, luxury home buyers are gravitating toward walkable neighborhoods close to urban attractions, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“There are days when I don’t touch the car,” said David Henry Simon, a lawyer and real-estate investor originally from New York who bought a 2,600-square-foot condominium last summer at the Montage Beverly Hills. “It’s just like when I was growing up in Manhattan.”

While luxury living in L.A. for many still means a home in the hills with a pool and garage, condo developers are looking to lure buyers closer to downtown with a slew of new luxury buildings.

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“Things are changing in L.A.,” said Cory Weiss, president of western region development marketing for Douglas Elliman. “People are flocking to new developments in areas where they can walk.”

Douglas Elliman is marketing six “vertical living” condo buildings, including Ian Schrager’s Residences at the West Hollywood Edition, which has 20 units starting at $5 million.

And according to “walk scores” ranging from 1 to 100 that Redfin calculates for neighborhoods, areas that see a boost in walkability from a score of 60 to 80 add an average of $129,000 to a property’s value.

Downtown L.A., which has the highest walkability score, had a median home price of $679 per square foot in March, significantly higher than the citywide median of $449 per square foot. [WSJ] — Rich Bockmann