The quality of local schools and choice is usually a consideration when looking for a home in a community. A 2015 study by the National Association of Realtors found that the quality of the school district was the sixth most important consideration for choosing a home in a particular neighborhood. In fact, buyers ages 35 to 49 rank the quality of schools in the community as the fourth most important factor.
So, how does the availability of school choice within a district, such as charter and magnet schools, relate to home prices? Early studies of this question seem to indicate that schools of choice have a positive economic influence on their local communities.
Researchers in a 2014 study by the Department of Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Boston concluded that economic indicators for school choice are “positive and significant, indicating that the opening of a choice school is associated with an increase in housing values.” When researchers incorporated the quality of the school of choice into the model, they found that “a higher quality choice school is associated with high values for nearby properties.”
The data in a Georgia State University Fiscal Research Center study showed that homes within a charter school enrollment priority zone in Atlanta sold for 8-13% more than similar homes outside of the enrollment priority zone. While California districts do not divide their neighborhoods into enrollment priority zones, the California Charter Schools Act requires charter schools to provide preferences to all students who reside in the district in which the school is authorized. In other words, residents of a school district that has approved a charter school have priority over residents of a neighboring district.
Home values are not the only positive economic effect in a community offering school choice. A non-profit research group based in Washington, D.C., Accuracy in Academia, concluded that schools of choice brought “income to local employees and businesses, thereby stimulating the local economy.”
As schools of choice, such as Oxford Preparatory Academy, are presented to local school districts, school board members and city officials should consider the positive economic benefits of quality schools of choice within their boundaries as part of their decisions.
Nancy Taylor, Retired Classroom Teacher, Oxford Preparatory Academy