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Public school characteristics, proximity, and home values: A case study of Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska

Lesli M Rawlings, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Homebuyers consider a myriad of structural and locational characteristics when purchasing a home. Several home buying guides suggest that buyers should consider school quality when selecting a home to promote resale value. The major goals of this research have been to determine whether public school characteristics and school proximity impact home sales prices in the Omaha and Lincoln metropolitan areas in Nebraska. The research focused on elementary, middle, and high school attendance zones.^ Over 4,000 homes were sold in 2005 in Omaha-Douglas County and Lincoln-Lancaster County. A geographic information system (GIS) facilitated the process of creating home sale databases for both study areas by appending data tables to map layers and calculating proximity measurements. High Pearson correlations and the interrelated spatial patterns of the housing, neighborhood, and public school variables made it necessary to subject the datasets to factor analysis. The factor scores saved from the principal components procedures were used as variables in multiple regression models.^ The regression results show that house characteristics explain most of the total variation of sales prices. However, all statistically significant public school variables have greater influence on home sales prices than proximities to water, major roads, or railroad tracks. And in Lancaster County, the elementary school factor score variable that combines student meal program eligibility, race, mobility, and reading exam proficiency, has a greater influence on house prices than the neighborhood variables derived from census tracts. Finally, most regression models and bar graphs show that house prices typically increase with increasing distances from their assigned elementary, middle, and high school.^ In summary, Lincoln and Omaha represent small and medium sized metropolitan areas underrepresented in home valuation research. Public schools in these study areas do not exhibit the extreme disparities of poverty and exam performance usually displayed by public schools in larger metropolitan areas. Nevertheless, the multiple regression results show that public school characteristics and school proximity influence home sales prices in the study regions.^

Subject Area

Geography|Economics, General|Urban and Regional Planning

Recommended Citation

Rawlings, Lesli M, "Public school characteristics, proximity, and home values: A case study of Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska" (2010). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3391007.