School Shootings' Impact on Local Real Estate

According to a new paper, home prices drop significantly in school districts where a shooting has occurred, and remain low in the ensuing years

By Kate Carsella, Associate Editor | November 29, 2018
School bus
Photo: Unsplash/Renan Kamikoga

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.” 

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