Home values rise with test scores

A fascinating story in Sunday’s New York Times provides proof that school test scores make a huge difference in home prices, even within our tiny town.

Based on “new study by seven professors and students at Trinity College,” the story says the data proves that “prices within a town can fluctuate, even by neighborhood, based on the strength of the local elementary school,.”

Using information from 8,736 home sales between 1996 and 2005 in West Hartford, the study “examined the relationship between grade-school test scores and home prices” in each of the town’s 11 elementary school districts.

It found that as test scores rose, so did home prices “in specific and predictable increments.”

“In fact, every 12-percentage-point difference in scores on the Connecticut Mastery Tests, the standardized exams that students in Grades 3 through 8 take every year, is worth $5,065 to those buying or selling a home, according to the study, called ‘School Choice in Suburbia: Public School Testing and Private Real Estate Markets.’ the study determined.

As a result, the study found that the Bugbee district, which has homes that closely resemble those in the Whiting Lane district, has higher home prices because students at Bugbee score about 12 points higher on the CMTs.

Read the story. It’s fascinating.

There is in this, of course, all the proof that any rational person should need that spending money to improve our schools leads directly to higher home values. Let the scores slip and so do home prices.

People can complain all they like about property tax bills, but the reality is that we either pay for our schools through taxes and have great education for our kids or we pay for our schools through falling home values and have a lesser education for our kids. It’s as simple as that.

The only choice we don’t have is to keep housing prices up and taxes down. It ain’t happening, folks, however much we’d all like to have chocolate truffles growing on every dandelion.

If anyone can find a working link to the study, please post it!



Filed under budget, education, housing, Schools, Taxes, tests

12 responses to “Home values rise with test scores

  1. John Webster

    Just curious. What were the school funding and home values like between 1988 to 1994? Thought West Hartford went through a period of dramatic decline in home prices during this period of time…was it due to a poor public funding for education?

  2. Hmmm

    And what about the scores of studies that say that the amount of money spent on education has no correlation to how the schools perform?

    Here’s one:
    Spending has absolutely no correlation to academic achievement (Hanushek, 1997). They say no matter how much money is pumped into the educational system, it won’t make a difference unless schools fundamentally change how they operate.

    More money is not the answer.

  3. Well, if you think that the resources poured in don’t matter, you need to get into the schools more. I wouldn’t argue that some money is squandered and I wouldn’t want to defend some positions or personnel. But I have no doubt at all that the only way you’re going to see scores rise at, say, Charter Oak is to put more people on staff to give personalized, expert teaching to some of the kids who are struggling. You do that enough and those kids are going to pass the tests and, I hope, wind up going to college and breaking out of patterns of family impoverishment that has stunted way too many lives for way too many years.
    The alternative of saying that money doesn’t matter is to say there’s nothing we can do. And that kind of attitude is appalling.

  4. Elmwoodian

    “Hmmm:” However, it should not follow that reducing spending on education will also not make a difference (and I mean the bad kind), which, as we all know, is what we are facing.

    I also have to put a general comment out there re: the notion that somehow there is some extraordinary waste and inefficiency in our schools. People who don’t want to pay more taxes (who does?) scrutinize line items in a budget and see inefficiency where there really is none. Seeing how things work on the ground (as whdad rightly suggests) really changes one’s perspective.

    I have been in these schools and have also had the opportunity to grill the administrators and the BOE folks. Having been in the private sector for 11 years now, I can say that these schools are far and away more efficient than any private co. for whom I have ever worked. Moreover, even at their current efficiencies, there’s still a lot of duct tape and bailing wire being utilized to make ends meet.

    You don’t want to pay more taxes, I sympathize, believe me (my assessment went up 120%). But please don’t perpetrate the fiction that the school system is rife with opportunity for savings (or “pork” as that term is so carelessly tossed around this forum). It just isn’t there.

    Let’s take it to our state legislators, let’s take it to the feds, but these folks have sacrificed enough.

    [Talk about inefficiency. I have to get back to work!]

  5. It’s totally true that the schools are more efficient than private companies, which are awfully fat by comparison — and I’ve seen quite a few!

  6. Jon

    Link to study is bad – Do you have a better one?

  7. Jon’s right, of course. I was hoping to read them tonight. So… if anybody can find the study online, please point the way. Or if anyone who was involved in doing the study happens to see this, can you help? There are lots of people in town who would like to see the details.

  8. John Hardy


    Go to this link on the Trinity College site.

    Click on “research” on the left-hand navigator.

    It is the six piece of research down.

    (And I graduated from Trinity LONG before Google was around…)

  9. Another Dad

    You can find a PDF of the study at:http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/educ/CSS/research/SchChoiceSuburb_AERA2007.pdf

    You can also find a powerpoint of the study at : http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/educ/CSS/research/SchChoiceSuburb_AERA2007.ppt

    Both links can be found in the research’ section of Trinity College sposored website regarding “Cities, Suburbs, and Schools” http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/educ/CSS/default.htm.

  10. HallStudent

    this is a shame that this is a factor in the value of a house. it really is.

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