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Traditional calendar schools increase property values by nearly two percent in Wake County, North Carolina

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— An RTI International and Elon University analysis of more than 50,000 residential real estate transactions shows that prices for homes assigned to traditional calendars were up to 2 percent higher than similar homes that switched to multi-track year round calendars. 

The study is available online and appears in print in the December edition of Economics of Education Review. 

"Given the media attention and strong public opinions on the school calendar change, it is evident that Wake parents have strong preferences regarding school calendars," said Brooks Depro, Ph.D., senior economist at RTI. "The puzzle we tried to solve was whether a traditional calendar "price premium" emerged immediately after the mandatory calendar conversions. To answer the question, our study design compares and contrasts actual home sales that took place before and after the conversion."

In Wake County, multi-track year-round schools increased significantly in the past decade due to a high-level of growth in the school district. In multi-track year-round calendar schools, schools are able to support a larger student population by rotating breaks for students in different tracks.  

Increasing existing school capacity is often perceived as a low cost way to meet student population growth.  The largest increase in Wake County occurred in 2007 when the school system mandated 22 traditional calendar schools to switch to a multi-track year-round schedule.

"If year-round schools are seen as an undesirable attribute and home prices fall, some of the potential cost savings associated with the year-round school calendar may be offset by a lowered tax revenue base," said Katy Rouse, assistant professor of economics at Elon University and co-author of the study. "For this study, we wanted to move beyond observing how average test scores among schools impact the housing market and explore whether other school attributes are capitalized into home prices."