There is a direct correlation between the price of a home and the quality of the school district that home falls in. This very likely means that if you’re moving just for the sake of getting your kid into a better school, be prepared to pay for it. There seems to be an unhealthy obsession with getting into the great public schools. But you got to do what’s best for your kids right? Or at least what you think is best.

redfin cost of home and school quality

Think about this chart for a minute. Is this relationship causal? Is the only reason for this trend that demand for homes in strong school districts drives up prices? There’s likely more to it. For one, we know that good schools are partially reliant on good parents, and that’s partially reliant on stable households. Two-parent households are more likely to have two incomes which allows them to afford nicer neighborhoods. So with this logic, upper middle class neighborhoods are much more likely to have strong schools. Not because of the school itself, but the quality of kid attending.

Many studies have shown that the best thing you can do for your kid’s academic success is to be a good parent. The effects of the school they attend are secondary, and in some cases not even material.

When buying a home parents should consider a number of things. Their own commutes is a big one. A family that lives an hour from work but is in a great school district might think they’re at an advantage compared to the family that’s 15 minutes from work and in a medium ranked school. But, if both parents work, the family with the shorter commute has the opportunity to spend 3 entire hours more with their kids each day (2 parents * 2 commutes * 45 minutes). That quality time adds up to more benefit for their kids than a good school.

It seems that parents often lose sight of their ability to affect their children. 75% of what that kid will become is already decided before they’re born. The other 25% will be a mix of the family impact and the rest of the world. Choosing a house based solely on the school district implies the school itself is the most important thing to the family. No one doubts that it should be a factor, but other things don’t have to be sacrificed.

categories: economics, education, Housing, personal finance