According to RealtorMag, twenty-three percent of recent buyers indicated that convenience to parks or recreational facilities influenced their choice of neighborhoods. Proximity to parks and recreational facilities was the most important to recent buyers aged 34 and younger, and to those aged 35 to 49. Here are some reasons to believe those numbers will rise.
The alarming increase in obesity, especially among children, has focused attention on how important physical activity is to our overall wellbeing. Governments at all levels are promoting the benefits of active living and we have become more receptive to the message. That means even more people will want accommodations that provide opportunities for physical activity (i.e. near parks and rec). Further, governments (to save its citizens and reduce health care costs) and businesses (to ensure their developments sell) are improving the planning, design, quality and availability of parks and recreation resources to meet the rising demand for activity-friendly communities.
Seniors, in particular are becoming more aware of the benefits, both physical and mental, of an active lifestyle including walks, picnics and outings. It is increasingly common for buyers over 59 to purchase townhouses and condos, sacrificing space and privacy for convenience, savings and safety of walkable communities. Nearby access to parks and rec is a critical factor for them and this group seldom compromises when buying – they know what they want.
First-time buyers, families and couples intending to have children often seek a neighbourhood where they can raise their family fostering a sense of place with the unique and special characteristics and comforts of “home turf”. They value the relationships and collaborations with the community as a whole. For them, building a vibrant community includes participating in activities and events offered by parks and recreational facilities for all the family’s stages and ages: personal fitness, Girl Guides, coaching the kids in local sports, Tai Chi class, a family swim, romps in the playground, the Canada Day Barbeque.
The aesthetic qualities of green space, trees and trails, gardens and picnic areas appeal to a group who have decided to slow the pace and live an eco-friendly lifestyle. To them parks and recreational activities are an essential part of quality of life. It’s hard to disagree if you’ve ever witnessed a sunset walking along the Ottawa River Pathway.
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