Central Mississippi’s realtors’ association sent a letter Wednesday to Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba imploring him to find a solution to the city’s water crisis.
The association said it represents the “Voice for Real Estate” in the Jackson Metro area and acknowledges the efforts of the city to address business leaders’ concerns in recent days and weeks.
“However, we continue to share a collective concern for the critical effects the water crisis has on our beloved City and its patrons,” the letter states.
“The ongoing water crisis has severe complications for housing and real estate in our market,” the letter states. “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.
Central Mississippi Realtors comprises more than 1,600 real estate professionals who live or work in the City of Jackson. It says it is the largest advocacy group in the Metro area supporting homeownership and defending private property rights.
The association points to a recent Realtors Property Report in which homes in the City of Jackson are valued at $30,000 less than those in Hinds County ($168,000 average) and the state ($210,000 average).
“Our 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,” the association said.
The association said that the city has been under a boil water advisory for 25% of the year due to high turbidity levels: “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 under a boil water advisory, Central Mississippi Realtors said.
The association went on to link the water situation with sustained growth and development in the 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,” Central Mississippi Realtors said. “The water crisis also discourages current students from remaining in the area post-graduation.”
Jackson Public Schools was also mentioned as Central Mississippi Realtors said the water woes have been an ongoing disruption to students’ learning environment and again pointed to home valuation.
“The Brookings Institute finds that living near a high-scoring public school district can raise home values as much as $205,000 compared to homes located in neighborhoods with low-scoring school districts,” CMR said.