Investing in Walkable Cities: The Sunshine Coast Advantage

As urban areas around the globe evolve, the concept of walkable cities has gained remarkable traction. This trend isn’t just confined to the bustling streets of the United States, where urban planner Jeff Speck has extensively chronicled the benefits of walkability in his influential book “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at…

As urban areas around the globe evolve, the concept of walkable cities has gained remarkable traction. This trend isn’t just confined to the bustling streets of the United States, where urban planner Jeff Speck has extensively chronicled the benefits of walkability in his influential book “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time.”

The principles he discusses are equally relevant here in Australia, particularly in regions like the Sunshine Coast with award-winning master-planned communities like Aura and Harmony as well as an emerging CBD from a greenfield site.  Investing in walkable communities not only enhances liveability but also supports affordable housing and fosters stronger, more vibrant communities.


The Benefits of Walkable Cities

Walkable cities offer a whole range of advantages that extend far beyond the convenience of not needing a car. According to Speck, walkable urban environments can significantly improve traffic safety, community identity, and local tourism. They also enhance stormwater management, transit effectiveness, urban competitiveness, and cultural heritage connections. By reducing obesity, other chronic diseases, healthcare costs, crime, traffic congestion, maintenance costs, fossil fuel dependence, air pollution, and ambient noise, walkable cities improve overall public health and sustainability. Plus, we can attribute walkable cities to increased life spans, neighbourhood vitality, worker creativity, social interaction, intergenerational connectedness, community inclusivity, employment rates, economic productivity, local investment, property values, efficiency of land use, public engagement, civic responsibility, urban resiliency, beauty, and happiness.

Phew, what a list!


Supporting Affordable Housing for Young Families

One of the most compelling aspects of investing in walkable cities is the opportunity to support affordable housing for young families delivering a win-win for investors and renters through a range of housing types. The Sunshine Coast, with its desirable climate and beautiful landscapes, and growing planned communities is a great example of walkable cities done well. Proximity to employment, schools, parks, playgrounds, and sports facilities can make a significant difference in the quality of life for young families… just as we’re seeing in the largest master-planned community, Aura. When we look at the smaller housing offerings that are well-placed throughout the region, there’s smaller property offerings that suit families, and other demographic groups that are looking for affordable and convenient rentals. Smaller product such as terrace homes, duplexes and apartments tick a lot of boxes with their proximity to so many amenities balancing out the need for large backyards and multiple car spaces. The proof is in the pudding with our own anecdotal evidence showing us the popularity in both the buying and renting of terrace lots in walking distance to Aura community amenities has meant very little time on the market, if any, with each new release.

Affordable housing in walkable areas also ensures that young families can thrive without the need for multiple vehicles. This not only reduces household expenses but also decreases the environmental impact associated with car usage and can alleviate the financial and time burdens associated with long commutes. Plus, children benefit from the increased physical activity and independence that comes from living in a walkable community, fostering healthier lifestyles and stronger social connections from an early age.


Fostering Stronger Communities

Walkable cities inherently promote stronger, more connected communities. When residents can easily walk to shops, schools, parks, and workplaces, they are more likely to interact with their neighbours and form meaningful social bonds. These interactions build a sense of community and belonging that is often lacking in car-dependent suburbs.

In addition to enhancing social ties, walkable communities also encourage civic engagement and public participation. Residents who feel connected to their neighbourhood are more likely to take an active interest in local issues and work together to improve their surroundings. This sense of shared responsibility can lead to better-maintained public spaces, safer streets, and a stronger sense of communal pride. A great value add for any investor!


Economic and Environmental Sustainability

Investing in walkable cities on the Sunshine Coast also makes economic and environmental sense. Walkable neighbourhoods tend to have higher property values and attract more local investment. Businesses thrive in areas with high foot traffic, leading to a more vibrant local economy. Furthermore, reduced reliance on cars means lower greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality, contributing to the overall sustainability of the region.

Creating walkable communities is not just about building more pavements or bike lanes; it’s about designing entire neighbourhoods that prioritise pedestrian access and connectivity, which is what we’re seeing being done really well in the new masterplanned communities across the Sunshine Coast. It’s not an after-thought, it’s a well-ingrained strategic asset to the community plan. This holistic approach ensures that all residents, regardless of age or income level, can enjoy the benefits of a walkable lifestyle.


What it means for property investors

Investing in a rental home in a walkable city offers numerous advantages for residential property investors. Properties in walkable areas tend to attract a broader range of potential tenants, including young professionals, families, and retirees, all seeking the convenience and quality of life that a walkable neighbourhood provides. These locations often command higher rental yields and enjoy lower vacancy rates due to their desirable amenities and ease of access to employment, schools, parks, and shops. Plus, walkable cities typically see greater property value appreciation over time, driven by increasing demand for sustainable, healthy, and community-focused living environments. This enables not only a steady rental income but also long-term capital growth, making it a smart and lucrative investment choice.

Speak with our team today about your property investing strategy and how a smart investment in a walkable Sunshine Coast region might fit your needs. We’re all about finding the right property in the right area with the right conditions to suit your needs now and into the future. Let’s chat!