The Best Cities for Fresh-Food Amenity Access
New York City, Philadelphia, and Miami are the top U.S. cities when it comes to easy access to healthy, fresh food at a nearby grocery store or farmers market, reports Redfin. The study by the real estate firm considered which major cities gave residents the best access to food amenities, which had improved, and which metros were lagging behind.
“While visiting my grandfather’s hometown in South Carolina last summer, the only grocery store there had burned down, and residents had to travel 20 minutes to the next town to get fresh food,” explained Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin. “Many in the community didn’t have transportation or were elderly. Neighbors organized carpools just to make sure people had access to food. This is obviously an extreme example, but it illustrates the importance of this basic amenity that many people take for granted,” she added.
Buyer premium for homes near supermarkets
The article reports that New York City offered 75 percent of residents a grocery store or a year-round farmers market within a five-minute walk of home. Sixty-four percent of Philadelphia residents and 57 percent of Miami residents had such access. Other top cities on the list included Boston, Oakland, Calif., Chicago, and Baltimore.
“Many home buyers put a premium on homes that are in proximity to supermarkets with fresh produce, in-store cafes, and hot food services,” said David Pollack, a Redfin agent in Boston. Pollack noted Wegmans and Market Basket chains had opened several new locations across the city in recent years to keep up with local demand.
Oklahoma City tops list of “food deserts”
The study also noted a top list of “food deserts,” areas where little to no options for fresh produce or full-service grocery stores exist nearby. Oklahoma City topped that list, with only six percent of residents living within a five-minute walk of fresh food.
“Oklahoma City has been slower than other cities to adapt to having fresh food, gyms and outdoor activities within walking distance,” explained Linda Huynh, a Redfin agent in Oklahoma City. “But keep in mind, our city is the eighth largest in the U.S. by land, with just 1.5 million residents. Things are really spread out and mostly accessible by car only,” she noted. Other cities with limited fresh-food access included Colorado Springs, Colo., Indianapolis, Charlotte, N.C. and Wichita, Kan.