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School District Boundary Changes Can Affect Home Values

The elementary school for a rental home I own looks like it’s going to be switched from Oak Hill Elementary to Patton Elementary. My rental home is located in Scenic Book West, shown in green/turquoise  just to the left of the words “Oak Hill” on the map below. Note that kids in this neighborhood, who previously attended Oak Hill Elementary will now be driven, literally, right past Oak Hill elementary further down the road to Patton. This is to provide relief to Oak Hill Elementary, which is well over capacity and still growing. But these kids will still track into Small Middle and Bowie High.

Austin ISD Boundary Map SW Austin

In this case, because Oak Hill and Patton elementary schools are both solid, reasonably well regarded elementary schools, I don’t expect a negative impact to the value of my home. Therefore, when I attended a public meeting recently at Clayton Elementary regarding the boundary changes for Southwest Austin elementary schools, I mainly wanted to listen to what other home owners and parents had to say about some of the other proposed changes. Also, at that time, my neighborhood wasn’t slated to be switched, though I knew it was a possibility being considered.

One of the proposed changes to the boundary map would have carved out a small section of Village at Western Oaks which currently attends Mills Elementary (shown in magenta above) and sent those kids across Mopac to Boone Elementary, and a different Middle to High school track. Mills parents turned out in force to oppose this ridiculously stupid and offensive boundary change, which would have not only sent the affected kids to poorer performing schools on the other side of a major freeway (as opposed to current walking distance to Mills), but forever separated them school-socially from neighborhood friends living just blocks away.

This, in turn, would have likely resulted in many of the parents of the relocated kids deciding to sell their homes and relocate back within their desired school track, which in turn would have created a sudden inventory spike in a small pocket of now less desirable homes, due to the newly imposed inferior school track. And, finally, Realtors like me and Sylvia would advise buyers against buying in this oddball pocket of the Village at Western Oaks because we fear it won’t hold value as well as the surrounding homes attending better school tracks.

Do schools and school tracks affect housing demand and values in this way? Of course they do. In a major way. And, as a Realtor team that pushes the value buying and owning homes that attend good schools (whether you have kids or not), Sylvia and I think it’s important that buyers understand just how unreliable and impermanent  some of the Austin ISD tracking maps can be. Why the shifting school boundary maps?

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Posted by Steve
8 years ago