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Homebuyers will still pay a premium to live in a good school district — even in a hot market

Stephanie Hughes Jun 21, 2022
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In some markets, buyers are paying thousands over asking price to be close to the school of their choice. Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Homebuyers will still pay a premium to live in a good school district — even in a hot market

Stephanie Hughes Jun 21, 2022
Heard on:
In some markets, buyers are paying thousands over asking price to be close to the school of their choice. Jon Cherry/Getty Images
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Tuesday morning, we’ll learn about existing home sales for the month of May. For decades, the school district in which a home is located has been a key factor for many prospective buyers. And despite home prices remaining pretty high, people are still willing to pay more to be near their school of choice.

In Sacramento, California, there’s a public school called Genevieve Didion — named for a relative of the late author Joan Didion, who was also from Sacramento. Some parents really want their kids to go there.

“People will wait for homes that come on the market in that neighborhood to pounce because they want their kid to go to that school and not any of the schools around it,” said Erin Stumpf, a broker associate for Coldwell Banker.

Stumpf said she’s seen people pay up to $100,000 more for a home in their desired district. Others will make trade-offs, like giving up a garage or an updated kitchen. 

It’s a factor for households without kids too. 

“What’s really interesting, I think, is that people are looking for homes in good school districts, even if they don’t necessarily have children that are of school age right now,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com.

Some of them may be thinking about having kids down the road, she said.

Plus, “good school districts tend to go hand in hand with a lot of other desirable neighborhood qualities,” Hale added. That will also make the home more attractive in the future, when it’s time to sell. 

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