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  • Writer's pictureSang Han

Chapter 6. Do Your Homework: Finding a great school district in your price range (Zillow Talk # 6)

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

As anyone can easily predict, and as you can easily see around, the quality of the school district and the property price are in direct proportion. I don't know whether the chicken comes first or the eggs first, but if the houses are expensive, there will be more property taxes collected. And the more tax collected will be invested in the school, the better the school will be.

Then, does this logic apply evenly to all regions of the country?

According to Zillow’s big data analysis, it is not.

As you can see in the image above, these five states, South Carolina, New York, Virginia, New Mexico, and Minnesota, are said to have the weakest relationship between property prices and school ratings. Particularly in the case of New Mexico, the school rating difference between the schools in the lower 10% of the real estate price and the schools in the most expensive area is only 3.6 points.

On the other hand, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, Georgia, and Tennessee are the five most obviously correlated. In the case of Michigan, the difference between school ratings in the lowest and highest real estate prices is higher than 7 points (lower 10% score of 2.1 vs. wealthy area score of 9.2).

Another fact confirmed through the big data is that "the correlation between house price and school rating becomes more obvious as house price increases."

In Pennsylvania, when moving from a school district with a school rating of 5 to an area with a school rating of 6, the average house price increases by 15.4%, whereas when moving from an area with a school rating of 8 to 9, the average house price increases by 60.1%. The case of California is similar. When moving to an area with a school rating of 5 to 6, the average house price in 6 areas is 9.9% more expensive than in 5 areas, but when moving from 8 to 9 areas, the difference is 47.9%.

So far, it seems inevitable to have to move to an expensive neighborhood to send children to a good school with a score of 9.0 or higher.

However, if you search well, there are places where good school districts and ideal home prices coexist.

Below is an example of a Chicago suburban. The map shows homes that are listed between $150K ~ $200K. These homes not only meet the following criteria but also located in a school district with a school rating of 9.0 or higher.

- Detached Single Family or Townhome

- Size: 2,000 ~ 2,500 sq ft

- Bedrooms: 3+, Bathrooms: 2+

- 2+ car garage

As you can see, there are areas in the Chicago area, like the Flossmoor and McHenry County areas, where housing is not expensive while the school district is really good.

The book referred to Dublin Ohio as an example. There are two 10-point elementary schools within the same Jerome High School (10-point) district, Scottish Corner and Deer Run Elementary School, only 2.6 miles apart. The Deer Run’s average house price is $413K for the Deer Run district, the Scottish Corner’s average is $286K.

As you see, good schools affect house prices. However, you don't have to move to an expensive neighborhood to send your kids to good schools. So, do your homework! If you search carefully, you can find cheap and good homes in good school districts.

As always, if you need any additional information or questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

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