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Quality of Life

University Of San Diego Study: School Proximity Matters In Real Estate

A house for sale in San Diego.
Tom Fudge
A house for sale in San Diego.

If real estate is all about location, it's best to not have a school close by if you're about to sell your house, according to research results released Tuesday by the University of San Diego.

Home values sink the closer the properties are to a campus, especially a private school, according to professors Stephen Conroy and Andrew Narwold, and associate professor Vivek Sah, of USD's Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate.

They based their conclusions on more than 20,000 residential housing sales in 2010-11 in San Diego County.

Homes located within 500 feet of a school sell for about 6.7 percent less than other neighborhood homes, the authors said.

The net negative becomes even starker when a home is situated near a private school. In that case, homes within 500 feet experience of such a campus a 14.4 percent decrease in sales price.

"Public schools are often more accessible and open to surrounding homes, allowing homeowners to benefit from proximity more than private schools," Sah said. "Additionally, private schools often draw from student populations that live far away, increasing traffic congestion to nearby residents."

On the other hand, home prices rise about 0.755 percent for each 1,000 feet of distance from a school, according to the report. That means a home with a value of $378,884 would increase in value to $381,745 by being 1,000 feet farther away from a school, the authors said.

They said schools are often associated with greater street and pedestrian traffic, noise and light pollution, loitering and possibly vandalism and other minor criminal activity. The negatives are not balanced out by the perceived value of access to school amenities such as playgrounds, playing fields, basketball and tennis courts and nearby green spaces, according to the professors.

"The classic Norman Rockwell image of children walking or riding the bus to school is often no longer the norm, especially in large metropolitan areas or in areas where people are more likely to drive their children to school, such as in Southern California," the authors wrote. "In the same way, the old belief that living near a school adds value to a home may no longer hold true, at least in San Diego County."

Sah, Conroy and Narwold excluded from their study homes with sale prices greater than $2.2 million and less than $100,000, controlled for outside factors like distance to parks, downtown, the coast, and highways and freeways, and made their measurements from the center of a school campus.