Study: Hoover school bus cuts will hurt home prices, sales

Published 1:53 pm Friday, November 15, 2013

By CASSANDRA MICKENS / Associate Editor

HOOVER — A $30,000 study measuring the impact of Hoover school bus cuts on property values and socioeconomic conditions was released Nov. 15, and the results aren’t good.

The 66-page study, funded personally Hoover City Councilman Gene Smith, was conducted by Zanola Co., a St. Louis-based research firm.

The study reviewed U.S. Census data and household trends in the Hoover school district, as well as the impact of the reduction or removal of school transportation in other communities nationwide.

By 2016, the average price of a home in Hoover will be $295,185, compared to $324,036 if bus service remains intact, according to the study. Total home sales will be 1,624 compared to 1,962, and the number of new home sales will be 284 compared to 405.

The study concludes “the availability of school transportation provides value to a community.”

“Its value is perceived to be a given, stable and factored positive that adds to the desirability of a community. Therefore, it is considered an established community element of steady and increasing home appeal and improving home value,” the study reads.

The study continues: “It is important to note that while the value of established school transportation is recognizable, the extensive research conducted regarding other school districts does not offer direct insights that modifications to school transportation impact sales and values.

“Based on review of all research for this study, our experience providing housing research in multiple market areas, an analysis of factors that influence home demand and values, it is our opinion that a reduced offering of accustomed and embedded valued school transportation interrupts home desirability and increasing pricing trends.

“Our anticipated outcome over the next few years of reduced school transportation disrupts the projected positive home trends. Instead our forecast is an initial leveling to slight decline trending for total home sales, a leveling trend for home pricing, and an initial leveling to slight decline in new home building.”

By 2020, the study predicts the average price of a home in Hoover will be $283,553, compared to $371,839 if bus service remains intact. Total home sales will be 1,497 compared to 2,524, and new home sales will be 259 compared to 661.

The study also predicts that discontinued bus service will have a negative impact on employment and retail sales.

A Zanola Co. representative is scheduled to attend the Hoover City Council’s regular meeting Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. to answer questions about the study.

“Any questions about the content of the study should be reserved for [the representative],” Smith said in an email Nov. 15.