Home > Uncategorized > This Just In: Homes in “Good School Districts” Cost More!

This Just In: Homes in “Good School Districts” Cost More!

August 4, 2016

Marketwatch writer Catey Hill breathlessly reports that it costs a LOT more money to enroll your child in a “good” public school (with my emphases added):

It could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars (gulp) to send your kid to public school — and that’s above and beyond the costs for things like supplies and extracurricular activities.

The reason: Homes in good public school districts — defined as districts with a minimum of one public school in which student test scores were at least one-third higher than the state average — cost 77% more than homes in average or below-average districts, according to data from real-estate research firm ATTOM Data Solutions. 

The average home cost $427,402 in a good school district in July 2016, compared with $241,096 for other districts. ATTOM analyzed home prices and test scores in more than 4,400 zip codes in the U.S. for this study. “Towns with stronger public school systems will typically cost more to live in,” it says.

The article also notes that there are other costs beyond the house: property taxes are typically higher. I am completely unsurprised by these findings: they represent the reverse side of the “gentrification” and “re-segregation” coin: people who want to get the best education for their children move into urban neighborhoods where public schools have a good reputation and into suburbs or small towns with exceptional schools and the laws of supply and demand kick in. Instead of bemoaning the lack of “good schools” everywhere, readers of Marketwatch are effectively urged to expect to pay more to acquire a house and pay property taxes in an affluent neighborhood or community. Once someone has made this large investment, they are inclined to protect it, which means making certain the barriers to entry remain high. This, in turn, results in a desire to keep low-income housing elsewhere and to reduce the amount they need to pay for broad-based taxes that fund schools and services in “less desirable” zip codes.

If we want to stop this vicious cycle, we should recognize that we ALL need to invest in EVERYONE’s public education, not just the education of our children or our neighbor’s children. We need to welcome mixed housing in our towns and neighborhoods. We need to spend more to get more… because that is why the “good” schools remain in “high cost” zip codes.

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