Technology

Survey confirms homebuyers willing to pay premium to be near preferred schools

Realtor.com: Families also willing to give up pool, other amentities for school of choice

Three out of 5 homebuyers surveyed by realtor.com said school attendance boundaries would be a factor in choosing a home, and most of that group said they’d be willing to go above budget or give up amenities to have their children go to their school of choice.

The online survey, conducted July 18-22, found that of those who said school attendance boundaries were important:

  • 23.6 percent would pay 1 to 5 percent above budget.
  • 20.7 percent would pay 6 to 10 percent above budget.
  • 9 percent would pay 11 to 20 percent above budget.
  • 40.3 percent would not go above budget.

Many who said school boundaries would affect their homebuying were willing to give up amenities to live within their school attendance boundaries of choice, including:

  • 62.4 percent would do without a pool or spa.
  • 50.6 percent would give up accessibility to shopping.
  • 44 percent would pass on a bonus room.
  • 42 percent would offer up nearby parks and trails.

“Our survey demonstrates the large impact school boundaries have on those looking to purchase a home,” said Barbara O’Connor, chief marketing officer at Move Inc., in a statement, noting that realtor.com in April rolled out new mobile school search functionality allowing users to search for listings in specific school attendance zones and school district boundaries.

“This data shows how compelling this new feature is to consumers and the impact it has on their home purchase experience.”

O’Connor said realtor.com will be launching a section on the site focused on back-to-school tips, which will provide more information to help those whose housing decisions are influenced by school boundaries.

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Other sites offering similar school attendance boundary search capabilities include Century 21, Trulia, Estately and Redfin, which, like realtor.com, license school boundary data from Vermont-based geographic information systems data provider Maponics. Zillow also licenses data from Maponics and displays school attendance boundaries, but users cannot search for homes by school.

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that buyers may read too much into simplified school rankings offered on real estate sites, paying premiums of $200,000 or more for homes served by schools that score only slightly better than other schools in the same school district. School district officials in San Mateo County, Calif., say real estate professionals are part of the problem, because they rely on test scores and school ranking sites to help sell homes. They’re working with Realtors in the hopes of helping them gain a better understanding of what qualities make for a good school.