Sunday, August 25, 2013

Walk Scores in New Housing Developments

I went to see a bunch of model homes today. A few things were pretty impressive:

They really are selling like crazy. Essentially every one we talked to had raised prices since last year, in one case as much as 40%. Two fairly large developments we visited only had one home remaining, another which was over 500 homes was within 30 sales away from selling out. Not only that but there is a huge volume of new homes on the market. In total several thousand new homes are being built near me, many in areas which haven't had new construction in decades.

It seems to be universal that new single family homes are being built at above the 7 homes per acre where public transportation actually starts to make sense. Considering that the newer apartment complexes are even higher density it seems likely that another decade of construction and public transit will be less of a joke in Southern California.

Because they are on such small lots, third stories seem to be quite common. I felt like that was an unusual feature of the place I bought, but it is almost standard in more urban areas. Amerige Heights in particular did a good job of making a practical third story.

Another thing which struck me was they all seem really hard to be trying to hide from people. Even those which were not gated communities seemed to be trying really hard to isolate themselves from the outside world with high walls and poor pedestrian access. In a country where crime is rare and social isolation is common this seems a really strange way to set up cities.

The new home I ended up buying does a bit of this, but it also seems to be designed so someone without a car will not starve. I decided to see if my instinct was right, and looked up a walk score for every new development I am aware of which is near me. Sure enough, most new developments are pretty awful. Maybe I should be surprised more though by the five new developments which actually are classified as "very walkable" though.

Village Walk Town Homes, San Dimas88
Colony Park, Anaheim -                              82
Avo, La Habra -                                                77
Brio, La Habra -                                                77
Vintage Walk, Covina -                                  74
Lone Hill, San Dimas -                                   69
The Gables, Whittier -                                     66
Amerige Heights, Fullerton -                          60
Alcott, Buena Park -                                         60 
Donovan Ranch, Anaheim -                             58
La Floresta, Brea* -                                          55  
Dakota Meadows, San Dimas -                      49
Noble, Eastvale -                                               45
Summerwind, Brea -                                        38
Corta Bella, Yorba Linda -                               34
Sycamore Creek, Corona -                               34
Seacountry, Chino -                                          35
Sorano at Blackstone, Brea -                            31 
Davenport, Eastvale -                                       29
Westmont, Chino -                                            23
Arietta, Chino -                                                 18
Orchard Glen, Corona -                                    17
Hearthside, Eastvale -                                      11
The Villages, Santa Fe Springs -                     6

*Future commercial property planned into the site design, this will ultimately increase the walk score.

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