Moving to a town or neighborhood with good schools is every parent’s highest hope, but a major obstacle is that communities with the best schools are also likely to be the most expensive. In fact, Atherton, California, 94027, located in San Mateo County, is the most expensive, according to CNN.
For your child to attend the highly rated Encinal Elementary School in Atherton, you will need to purchase a house selling in the range of $6 million and make monthly payments of about $37,000, says housing information provider RealtyTrac. The average wage in the area is $8,953 monthly.
To find “good” schools, RealtyTrac scanned more than 1,800 zip codes in California that have at least one “good” elementary school. The definition of “good” applied to schools with higher-than-average test scores for their states. RealtyTrac compared median home prices in the zip codes against the average salary for the area.
The list of the top 16 most expensive “good school” areas is dominated by California zip codes. The No. 2 spot went to Beverly Hills, 90210. In this sector, the median price for a home costs about $20,000 a month. Surrounding Los Angeles County has an average monthly wage of $4,853.
The 3rd, 4th, and 5th places were Santa Barbara, 93108, Santa Monica, 90402, and Rancho Santa Fe, 92067. The conclusion of the study was that 65% of the “good school” areas were not affordable to the average wage earner.
On the other end of the scale, the most affordable zip code was Harvey, IL, 60426. Located in Cook County, south of Chicago, it likes to call itself “a new city rising,” but high crime and corruption permeate the city, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Nevertheless, Whittier Elementary School in Harvey gets high marks. The median price for a home there is $21,000, only $128 monthly. The average monthly wages for the county come to $5,547.
In Metro Orlando, of the nine schools with the highest statewide average scores, only four were located in neighborhoods where median home prices are affordable by those who receive Central Florida paychecks, said Mary Shanklin, reporting for the Orlando Sentinel.
Tara Moore, a Winter Garden real estate agent, said some buyers on a budget have turned to charter schools that have no boundaries that determine attendance. Most homeowners instead must look for their home to be zoned for schools with high rankings.
“Most educated buyers are aware that, even if they don’t have schoolchildren, getting into a good school district will affect their resale,” she said.
The report by RealtyTrac found that the national median price for houses zoned for “good schools” was $411,573, which is 95% more expensive than prices in zip codes with no high-scoring schools.
The company analyzed school test scores for almost 27,000 elementary schools in more than 7,200 zip codes, according to the RealtyTrac website.
Each state’s Department of Education was the source for the information about schools. The median home price data came from public records and the average wage data came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the first quarter of 2015.
Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, who covers covers the Seattle market, said:
“Although many of the best elementary schools in the greater Seattle area are in more expensive neighborhoods, there are several quality schools that are actually located in less expensive markets. That said, buyers who place a high priority on schools may have to be ready to compromise other factors, such as the style of home or proximity to their job.”