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School Performance Can Increase Home Value and Buyer Interest

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RISMEDIA, August 24, 2010—While millions of Americans throughout the nation prepare for traditional back to school activities, some families are searching for affordable housing based on local schools or desirable school districts. In some cases, proximity to quality schools is so important buyers may choose to rent close to a preferred school until the right home becomes available, especially if they’re running out of time before the first day of school.

“I recently worked with clients that were moving to the Northwest Chicago suburbs from out of state,” said Nina Rocus, a Realtor in Schaumburg, Illinois. “They originally looked for homes close to particular school districts, and wanted to move in before the school year started so their son would be enrolled on time for this school year. But because they felt they were running out of time, they ended up renting. They still want to find a home in the spring, so we will start looking again then.”

Because proximity to a quality school is such a high priority for some families as they search for their next home, buyers and sellers in cities with top ranked schools or school districts can often expect to see higher median list prices as compared to the statewide median list price—sometimes as much as 10-28% higher.

“Without a doubt the ‘right’ school district increases value by 12-14% in my area, even in today’s market,” said Maria Picardi-Kenyon, a long-time Realtor located in New Jersey. “I’ve spoken with many clients who are convinced that a preferred school district provides as much as 20 percent or more value to a home.”

To help families as they search for academic excellence and affordable housing during this year’s back to school season, Move, Inc., a leader in online real estate, released the following tips on how to expedite this season’s real estate search before the school bell rings.

Factors associated with selecting housing near quality schools
While the National Education Association’s study on student achievement reports the proximity of affordable housing in stable neighborhoods remains a key component to a student’s success, buyers often consider location to jobs, shopping, freeways and property taxes among other things when searching areas with high ranked school districts.

“Clients focused on a particular school district are often inclined to favor neighborhoods that have great accessibility to community facilities like parks, pools, tennis courts, running/biking trails, as well as access to retail and restaurants,” said Tom Thornton, an EcoBroker with Realty Austin of Austin, Texas. “In Austin, popular neighborhoods with good schools can have an average negotiation range of two to three percent from list price, while the resale advantage can be as much as a five or 10% premium compared to neighborhoods without popular amenities.”

Is bigger better?
The ability to live, earn and learn often comes with a price in communities that serve larger student populations. According to The United States Department of Education, three states—California, Florida and Texas—account for 45 of the nation’s largest public school districts with an average of 169 school choices per district.

Median list prices for single-family homes listed for sale on the Move Network in California, Florida and Texas in July 2010 were $335,000, $215,000 and $179,900 respectively, while the national media price was $212,900 during the same time period.

Average active list prices for single-family homes listed for sale on the Move Network in the nation’s top three largest school districts in July 2010 were $816,545 in New York, $879,743 in Los Angeles, and $425,869 in Chicago.

For more information, visit www.move.com.

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