Of all the local neighborhood amenities that can influence a buyer's decision to purchase a home, proximity to good quality schools is one of the most influential. According to the 2012 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 25% of home buyers listed school quality and 19% listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase. This field guide includes articles and studies on the importance of schools for home buyers and how schools impact local property values, along with a sampling of Web sites that provide data on school districts.
Schools and the Home Buying Decision
Research Schools Before Buying a Home, (Activerain.com, Oct. 29, 2010).
How to Evaluate Schools Before Making Your Homebuying Decision, (newhomesguide.com, Aug. 31, 2010).
Public School Reform, Expectations, and Capitalization: What Signals Quality to Homebuyers?, (Southern Economic Journal, Apr. 2009). Q
Parents, peers, or school inputs: Which components of school outcomes are capitalized into house value?, (University of Cincinnati, Sept. 2008).
Neighborhood affluence, school-achievement scores, and housing prices: Cross-classified hierarchies and HLM, (Journal of Housing Research, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2007). Q
Capitalization of the quality of local public schools: what do home buyers value?, (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia—Working Paper, Aug. 2006).
Neighborhood school characteristics: What signals quality to homebuyers?, (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Economic Review, 4th Quarter 1996).
Impacts of Schools on Property Values
Do Schools Really Affect Property Values?, (biggerpockets.com, Apr. 6, 2011).
School Performance Can Increase Home Values and Buyer Interest, (move.com, Aug. 19, 2010).
Good Schools, Bad Real Estate, (Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2010).
The impact of school district consolidation on housing prices, (National Tax Journal, Dec. 2008). Q
Do good schools or good neighbors raise property values?, (UCLA / Dartmouth College, Apr. 2004).
School quality and property values in Greenville, South Carolina, (Clemson University, Apr. 2003).
Schools and housing markets: An examination of school segregation and performance in Connecticut, (University of Connecticut, Oct. 2002).
What's in a grade? School report cards and house prices, (University of Florida—Department of Economics, May 2002).
School performance and housing values: Using non-contiguous district and incorporation boundaries to identify school effects, (National Tax Journal, June 2001). Q
House prices and the quality of public schools: What are we buying?, (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Business Review, Sept./Oct. 1998).
"Selling" the Schools
Moms rate schools third as reason for moving, (Realty Times, Apr. 8, 2008).
Public Schools — A Toolkit for REALTORS® , (National Association of REALTORS®, 2005).
Reading, writing, and real estate: REALTORS® working to improve public education, (On Common Ground, Winter 2005).
If You Want to Build a Better Community, It Takes a School, (nsbn.org, Feb. 25, 2004).
Knowing the community before selecting a new home, (University of Illinois Extension Fact Sheet, 2001).
Reading, writing, and real estate: Forget the golf course. It's the school that's the draw, (Planning, May 2000). Q
School Quality Information on the Web
There are numerous sources on the Web offering data on schools and school districts. The reports they provide vary in detail and cost, but almost always have useful information for home buyers and REALTORS®. The following are a few sample Web sites:
In the Find a Neighborhood feature, school district rankings, student-to-teacher ratios, average education spending per student, and other information can be found when searching for a particular community.
National Center for Education Statistics
The center publishes information on all levels of education, from preschool to graduate school.
A listing of private companies around the U.S. that provide reports on school districts is available on the Open Directory Project.
State and local sources
Many states and local areas also make their school district info available online. Web sites of the state departments of education are a good start, along with those of local newspapers. For example:
- School District Profiles, (Massachusetts Department of Education).
- Florida School Indicators Report, (Florida Department of Education).
- School Guide, (The Washington Post)—Click on "All School Profiles" underneath the School Guide banner
- Illinois School Report Card, (The Chicago Tribune).
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
In The Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time (Kindle, Adobe eReader)
Love Your Neighborhood (Adobe eReader)
Field Guides & More
These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:
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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.