Columbia Housing Market Reacts to New School Boundaries

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COLUMBIA - Realtors reacted Friday to Columbia Public Schools' boundary changes and its new transfer policy.  While some parents have said they would move so they could send their children to the school they want, brokers have yet to notice many buyers or sellers listing for that reason.  Instead, Crane & Crane Real Estate broker Jessica Kempf said the housing market slowed down during the month of January because of the looming boundary changes, with more pending contracts than last year.  She said buyers were waiting to complete the deal until the board approved a boundary map.

"At the end of last year we saw a real slowdown in showings and that type of thing," Kempf said. "People were kind of holding off to see where their new house would possibly be in the new district."

RE/MAX Boone Realtor Becky Sterling said she hasn't noticed many changes because all of the schools in CPS are so good.

"Personally none of my buyers or sellers have been overly concerned about the boundaries," Sterling said. "I think they've paid attention and I think they wanted to see what happened but I don't think they're overly worried."

Kempf said once the CPS school board approved option B business started to pick up again. She also said realtors will have to make changes about how they list houses by making sure they post the correct boundaries.

"It's just going to be more of a process when we list a home to inform the seller of what the school districts are going to be and then also inform the buyer," Kempf said.

While the two realtors noticed different patterns, though both noted the importance of education to those house hunting.

"It's usually one of the top factors, especially people with kids. I mean it's one of the top search criteria for buyers and so it really affects the housing market when a school district does a big overhaul like this, because it changes boundaries for everybody," Kempf said.

"I think that schooling is always important to people coming into Columbia," Sterling said. "It's a great market; it's an easy place to sell."