Where to live to be near the nation’s top schools

October 3rd, 2014

If homebuyers want to live near good schools, they'll have to spend more and try to outbid other buyers.

The quality of local schools is one of the key considerations when consumers want to buy a home, and this is the case even for buyers who aren’t parents.

Good schools tend to raise property values, and parents can ensure their children have a top-notch education. Childless homeowners have more assurance they can sell at a reasonable price when they’re ready to move. In some cases, these locations are so popular that parents are willing to rent in the neighborhood until they can find an available home.

While the advantages of purchasing a house near an excellent school district are clear, finding them may not be as easy. Luckily, online real estate listing service Redfin recently compiled lists of neighborhoods with top schools in certain metro areas.

Here are some of the locations with high-ranking schools:

  • Boston: Fenway/Kenmore Square and Braintree Highlands
  • Chicago: Downtown Northbrook, Downtown LaGrange and North Center
  • Houston: Shadow Creek Ranch, Kingwood and Sugar Creek
  • Las Vegas: Green Valley Ranch, Summerlin North and West Gate
  • Los Angeles: Crescenta Highlands, Lunada Bay and Pacific Palisades
  • Miami/Fort Lauderdale: Chapel Trail, Highland Lakes and Pembroke Falls
  • Philadelphia: Wayne, Bala Cynwyd and Havertown
  • San Francisco: Outer Parkside, Sunset District and Inner Richmond
  • Seattle: Queen Anne, Ballard and Factoria

What are some traits of these neighborhoods
According to Redfin, buyers have their work cut out if they want to land a property in one of the aforementioned neighborhoods or any others that were on the list. First, they will have to pay more. The median sale price was $474,900 compared to $290,000 for the entire metropolitan area. Additionally, homes in these neighborhoods are more likely to close for more than the asking price, as 30 percent of these properties sell above their list prices. The overall metro areas, on the other hand, had homes sell for 27 percent more on average.

These price considerations likely stem from high demand and low times on market for available homes. Buyers will likely be locked into intense bidding wars if they want one of these houses.

The good news is these properties tend to hold up better when the housing market is on a downturn. Regardless of which way the economy is going, parents want a good education for their children, so future homeowners will have leverage when they’re ready to sell.

Interested consumers can look at some strategies for winning a bidding war if they want to land a home near top-notch schools.