Here's how much parents are spending to live near the best schools

According to realtor.com data, parents are spending upward of $4.9M to buy homes near the best public elementary and secondary schools

It’s back-to-school season and aside from shelling out money on supplies for their children, many parents are spending millions of extra dollars to live near the best public elementary and secondary schools in their areas.

According to data from home search portal realtor.com, homebuyers in California, New York, and Washington state are spending well above their area’s median sales price to live within a mile of a school with a GreatSchools rating of 8 or higher. GreatSchools is a U.S. non-profit that ranks schools on a scale of 1 to 10 (higher is better) on a variety of factors, including educational attainment, safety, and diversity, and its data appears widely across the residential real estate industry, including integrations on realtor.comZillow and Trulia.

For example, in Santa Clara, Calif., the median sale amount for a home less than a mile from top-ranked Gardner Bullis Elementary School was $3,560,000 — $2,160,000 more than the median sales price for the city as a whole.

Realtor.com school zone pricing chart

Median home sales per school zone. Source: realtor.com

“There’s a bit of an aura around that school,” Realtor.com Director of Economic Research Javier Vivas told Mansion Global in an interview. Vivas lives near Gardner Bullis and said he isn’t surprised that sales prices skyrocketed around the 2018 California Distinguished School award winner.

California schools dominated the public elementary schools’ list with buyers in San Mateo, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Orange spending anywhere from $3,450,000 to $2,902,5000 to live near schools with GreatSchools rankings of 8 or 9. The only non-California cities to make the list were King, Wash. and New York City, NY, where buyers spent a median sales price of $2,800,000 and $1,297,000, respectively.

The Golden State also dominated the public secondary schools’ list, taking 8 of the top 10 spots. The median sale amount for a home less than a mile from Paul Revere Middle School in Los Angeles, Calif. was $4,900,000 — nearly six times the amount the median sales for the city as a whole.

Although the dataset focused on luxury-level prices, a realtor.com study released in July showed that parents of all economic backgrounds were willing to sacrifice features on their ‘must-have’ lists in order to live near a better school district.

In the survey of 1,000 buyers, 78 percent favored a great school district over the perfect home, and 80 percent said they’d give up key features such as garage (19 percent) and a large backyard (18 percent).

Buyers said good school districts had exemplary test scores (59 percent), followed by accelerated programs (53 percent), arts and music (49 percent), diversity (43 percent) and before- and after-school programs (41 percent).

“Most buyers understand that they may not be able to find a home that covers every single item on their wish list,” realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said in a prepared statement.

“But our survey shows that school districts are an area where many buyers aren’t willing to compromise. For many buyers, ‘location, location, location,’ means ‘schools, schools, schools.’”

Email Marian McPherson.