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How will the new high school affect home values?

Updated on December 5, 2015


Scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 Prince William County’s 12th high school will be state of the art with a full aquatics facility and performing arts center.

In December 2013 the Prince William County School Board approved the $97.9 million construction project for the new high school near the intersection of Va. 234 and Hoadly Road. The approved 2016-2017 High School Boundaries (attached) will be implemented in the following manner:

  • There will be no 12th grade at the 12th High School, during its first year of operation.
  • Students in grade 12 will remain at their current (2015-16) high school for the 2016-17 school year.
  • Rising 9th- and 10th-grade students in the affected areas will attend the newly assigned school in 2016-17.
  • Rising 11th grade students may choose to attend their current school or the 12th HS.

With construction underway and on schedule to open this fall, how does this affect home values?

Better Schools = Higher Home Values

According to Virginia Department of Education this is one of the most expensive public high schools ever built in the state, and one of the few with an indoor aquatics facility. The school includes an $8.4 million, two-pool indoor aquatics facility. Additionally the school will have amenities for the relocation for the fine and performing arts specialty program from Woodbridge Senior High School.

In 2013 The National Association of Realtors surveyed home buyers and found 22% of them listed a home’s proximity to the school as part of their buying decision and 29% of buyers listed schools quality as a deciding factor in their decision.

A recent analysis conducted by Duke University’s Department of Urban Economics found “the quality of a school has a positive impact on the prices of houses located within that school zone”.

Good schools are not just for buyers starting a family or who already have children. Ken Corsini, author of the article “Do Schools Really Affect Property Values?” demonstrated that buying a home in a good school district just makes good business sense. Good Schools can help insulate a home from market fluctuations and therefore makes a property a more sound investment.

How much more?

In surveys conducted by the affect schools have on home buying decisions is dramatic, almost 60% of buyers say they would pay over budget to be in a good school. 1 out of 5 surveyed said they would pay up to 20% more for a home with access to good schools.

RealtorMag reported that in a study of MLS databases from May 1 – July 31, 2013 that on average people are paying $50 more per square foot for homes near top-notch schools. The analysis found that even within the same neighborhoods, home buyers are willing to pay substantially more for homes that fall in a top school district than for homes served by average-ranked schools. For a 3,500 square foot house, that equates to $175,000 more in home value.

Final Thoughts

Is the new high school going to be nice? Absolutely! Is it going to explode the market with multiple offers being written in the driveways of homes? Unlikely, home values are not just about the schools. But there is no denying that the quality of nearby schools has a positive impact on the value of a home. I am anticipating values in some neighborhoods going up 7-10% from previous years.

If you are selling a home; get a good realtor who understands how to price your home based on the evolving market. Watch the market carefully, pay attention to list price, days on market, sold prices, and price per square foot.

If you are a buyer, don’t wait. Get a good realtor and start looking now. Once prices start to rise they won’t stop. Come in strong and fast with a solid offer.

Special Note

Prince William County is planning to open another new high school near Gainesville by 2020.


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