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“It’s driven by personal preference and what people can afford. Most of the urban centers that have a high concentration of retail and food outlets are also close to the Metro,” she said. “To some people, a 10-minute walk to Metro is too far, but for many, that works just fine.”

There is a simple pleasure in being able to walk to the farmers market or the corner store, said Ms. DesMarais, who lives in the Bloomingdale community in Northwest Washington.

“I live in a neighborhood where the local shopkeepers know me, and I value them. There is a nice sense of community,” she said.

In this age of people wanting to simplify their lives, there’s also added value for buyers who purchase in communities with convenient access to retail. Realtors say homes in those neighborhoods sell much faster than ones in isolated communities.

Ms. Gilbert said some of her quickest sales have been in pedestrian-friendly communities and developers are catching on quickly.

“Consider the success of communities like Arts District Hyattsville or National Harbor. They are so popular because the homeowners end up saving time and money and being green to boot,” Ms. Gilbert said. “In terms of value, communities that are more easily accessible have higher market value than other communities. They are more sought after, attract more potential buyers and generally end up getting more purchase offers.”