Central Mississippi REALTORS® Expresses Collective Concern for Critical Effects of Water Crisis on City (edited 08/24/22)
Central Mississippi REALTORS® (CMR) represents the “Voice for Real Estate” in the Jackson Metro area and is currently made up of more than 1,600 real estate professionals who live or work in the City of Jackson. As the largest advocacy group in the Metro area supporting homeownership, defending private property rights, and proactively advocating for strong, healthy communities in the Capitol area – we have a vested interest in the well-being and resiliency of the city. We continue to share a collective concern for the critical effects the water crisis has on our beloved City and its patrons.
The ongoing water crisis has severe complications for housing and real estate in our market. Jackson property owners experience little to no water pressure, foul odors, discolored water, exposure to raw sewage, increased home repair costs, high water bills, and decreased valuation of their properties. According to a recent REALTORS® Property Report, homes in the City of Jackson are valued at $30,000 less than those in Hinds County ($168,000 avg.) and the state ($210,000 avg.). Research shows that in cities and towns with similar water supply issues, there is a clear and observable relationship between home prices and water quality.
Repercussions of the continued crisis include deterioration of the quality of life for residents and a strain on the economic vitality of Jackson area neighborhoods. Last year, Jackson’s residents spent 226 days, or 62% of the year, under water advisories including boil water notices. To date, we have been under water advisories for a quarter of the year due to high turbidity levels.
The recurrent water advisories are also driving many of the area restaurants and small businesses to surrounding towns as they seek relief from the costly expense of supplying their own consumption-safe bottled water, ice, and canned soft drinks. These issues directly impact commercial real estate practitioners as those businesses consider not renewing their leases. These factors perpetuate the cycle of vacant buildings, decreased revenue, and overall blight. The continued lack of sufficient water supply prohibits sustained growth and development in the City’s under-developed and lower-income areas.
For the six nearby colleges, a lack of reliable consumption-safe water damages Jackson’s appeal to new and prospective students and can be attributed to low admission rates. The water crisis also discourages current students from remaining in the area post-graduation. Most concerning are the families with children in the Jackson Public Schools System (JPS). The instability of the City’s infrastructure has been an ongoing disruption to the student’s learning environment as faculty and staff are consistently burdened with finding safe water for their students to consume. Research conducted by the Brookings Institute finds that living near a high-scoring public school district can raise home values as much as $205K when compared to homes located in neighborhoods with low-scoring school districts. Numerous reports have also confirmed the link between real estate values and school quality.
CMR stands in solidarity with Jackson’s residents, educators, restaurant owners, business owners, and medical personnel who have asked for immediate attention to the ongoing water crisis. We continue to offer our support in finding a comprehensive resolution that will conclude our dilemma and improve the quality of life for residents in Jackson.