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Mixed-use and walkable is the way to go for Americans, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors.

About 60 percent of Americans prefer a neighborhood with a mix of houses and stores within easy walking distance, rather than communities that require more driving between home, work and play (tweet this fact).

While home size does matter, 78 percent of respondents said that the neighborhood was more important to them than the square footage of the house. In addition, 57 percent would sacrifice a home with a larger yard in return for a shorter commute to work.

The most popular type of residence was a single-family detached house with a large yard, the top choice for 52 percent of people. The second most-wanted home was a single-family detached house with a small yard (24 percent), followed by an apartment or condominium (14 percent).

The most popular community among respondents was a suburban neighborhood with a mix of homes, retail and businesses, favored by 30 percent of people. The least popular community type was a suburban neighborhood with only housing, which just 11 percent picked as their ideal. Rural areas and mixed-development city neighborhoods fell in the middle, at 16 and 15 percent, respectively.

“Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, smart growth is typically characterized by mixed-use development, higher densities and pedestrian friendly streets that accommodate a wide diversity of transportation modes,” NAR President Gary Thomas said in a statement.

Regarding commuting options, 41 percent of surveyed people said that improving public transportation would be the best solution, while 29 percent preferred the development of mixed-use communities where recreation and work are closer to home. About 20 percent opted for building new roads.

The survey of 1,500 adult Americans was conducted by American Strategies and Meyers Research from September 18 to 24.

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