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Photo: Unsplash/Renan Kamikoga
This article first appeared in the December 2018 issue of Pro Builder.

In the aftermath of a school shooting, the prices of nearby homes in that district drop an average of 7.8 percent over the course of three years, and property values decline by an average 13.6 percent or $20,337 in the five years after the shooting. So says a new working paper cowritten by Ruchi Singh, a University of Georgia assistant professor of real estate, and Juan Sebastian Munoz, a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois’ Department of Economics.

Titled “Unraveling Place-Based Pref­erences: Do School Shootings Erode Property Values?” the paper also reports that the more bedrooms a home has, the greater the property price drop, as more bedrooms serves as a proxy for identifying households most likely to have school-age children.

Additionally, homes that are closer to the affected school district’s boundary are more likely to see price decreases, although the negative effect isn’t limited to homes closest to the school. Munoz said in a statement that homebuyers with families tend to avoid school districts where school shootings have taken place, due to the perception that the quality of the school will deteriorate after such an event, with teachers leaving, decreased student enrollment, and lower test scores.

The number of residential real estate sales also dwindles in a school district after a school shooting.

“It becomes a demand issue,” Munoz says. “The people who would potentially buy in the area aren’t all that interested in paying a lot for a house that’s in a school district that just experienced this horrific event.”