How School Sports Spending Could Impact Local Real Estate

Category: Property Valuations

The jury is still out on the impact that a plan in Walworth, Wis. to raise property taxes for athletics improvements could have on area home values, reports the Lake Geneva Regional News in Lake Geneva, Wis. School officials for Big Foot High School in Walworth hope to raise additional taxes for sports facilities improvements without increasing the property tax rate. So far, an analysis by experts on how property values could be affected is inconclusive.

No one-to-one examples to compare

“None of them are really great one-to-one examples,” Margaret Labus, a real estate broker with D’Aprile Properties, said about industry studies on the topic. Labus told the paper that most studies analyzing the interaction of schools and local property values deal with school capital improvements, not athletic facility improvements. Still, her clients have been asking her opinion in nearby subdivisions.

“[A]ll the studies I’ve read do show that a high-achieving, vibrant school system increases property values and sales,” Doug Parker, a local school district administrator, told the news outlet. However, Parker acknowledged that he had not seen specific studies that looked at the correlation between high school sports facilities and area property values.

Long-term benefit appears positive

The article notes that another local real estate broker and former Big Foot School Board member, Becky Merwyn, did not think the proposed $8.6 million project would affect area property values. Merwyn told the news outlet the school has owned the 11-acre plot for almost 20 years. She said improving facilities would increase the desirability of the school district for future prospective students.

Labus told the paper that she found two contradictory case studies. The first showed that new school construction caused an immediate and sizable increase for area home prices. The other study showed such projects had a negative effect on home values for about two years. However, the long-term effects for both studies appear to show positive gains for area home prices, particularly within a “ring of benefit.” Labus cautioned that each community is different and the case studies weren’t an exact match for the proposed Big Foot project.

Posted on: Friday, February 9, 2018