Sex Offenders Lower Property Values

Few people think of themselves as judgmental, but everyone wants to keep their family safe, and that requires some judgments. Megan’s Law, a 1994 law that makes sexual offenders register in a public database, has proven to leave a clear impact on real estate prices.

Longwood University in Virginia did a study on the impact of registered sex offenders on property values, and the results are not surprising.

The study found that homes within one-tenth of a mile of a sex offender decrease in value by about 9% and take 10% longer to sell. Rural areas have a more dramatic decrease than urban areas.

The professor in charge of the study believes that buyers are more aware of online sex offender registries than they were in the past, and easy access to sites like are making it more likely that potential homeowners will do a search.

Another interesting correlation from the paper is that homes with more bedrooms have a greater impact than smaller homes. More bedrooms is an indicator that a family has children, or plans on having children.

In some areas, registered sex offenders are dotted throughout the city, and in others they are highly concentrated. While families may try to live farther, sometimes that is not an option. In those cases, house hunters can look at the details of criminals living in the area and work to avoid the violent ones.

Wherever you are, always be on the lookout for what’s near a property to ensure your investment is safe.

Read more at WSET or read the entire research paper here.