Cost of sending kids to good public schools

Attom Data Solutions (the new parent company of RealtyTrac) – one of the leading sources for comprehensive housing data – recently released its 2016 Schools and Housing Report, which shows that homes in zip codes with at least one good elementary school have higher values and stronger home price appreciation over the long term than homes in zip codes without any good elementary schools.


The homes in zip codes without any good elementary schools lost more value during the housing downturn but have seen stronger appreciation during the housing recovery of the last five years.

What does this mean for Collin County?

Collin County Schools

  1. Good School Zipcodes: Although Collin County has just three zip codes with a “good” school by their definition (where score is at least one-third higher than the state average), all of the zip codes in Collin County have at least one school that scores above the state average (but only three zip codes of 75002, 75025 and 75013 have a school that is at least one-third above the state average, the definition of “good” for this report). This certainly does not imply that the other Collin county zips don’t have below-average schools, but just not high enough above average to meet the standard of “good” for this report.
  2. Bargain Zips with good schools: None of the zips made it into their “bargain zips with good schools” because they limited that list to only zip codes where the median sales prices in 2016 were $150,000 or below. The lowest-priced zip code with a “good” school was 75002 in the city of Allen, where the median sales price was  $277,677 so far this year.
  3. Gap: The average values, prices, and price appreciation for the good school zip codes and the zips with no good schools show that there is not as much of a gap in Collin County between zips with a good school and zips with no good schools, as there is in the rest of the country on average:
    • While home values in good school zips are 7 percent higher than zips with no good schools in Collin County, the gap is 77 percent on average nationwide!
    • Homeowners in zip codes with no good schools in Collin County have actually gained more in home value (59.6 percent) since purchase than homeowners in zip codes with one good school (35.9 percent), opposite of the national trend.
    • Over the last 10 years homes in good school zip codes have appreciated at a slightly higher pace (44.6 percent) than homes in zip codes with no good schools (42.5 percent), but home prices overall over the past 10 years are doing very well.

“Collin County has more consistent quality across the board when it comes to schools, so the difference between the very best scoring schools and the very worst scoring schools in the county is not that extreme. That smaller gap in school quality also translates into the housing market, where we see a smaller gap in home values and home price appreciation over the past 10 years between neighborhoods with cream-of-the-crop schools and all other neighborhoods. So in Collin County school quality does have a positive impact on home values and price appreciation, but the impact is nowhere near as dramatic as what we see on average across the country. At least in part because of the high standard of schools across the board in Collin County, it’s hard to go wrong in picking a home and neighborhood that will appreciate in value over the long term.” – Daren Blomquist, SVP Communications @ AttomData Solutions

Report methodology

  • For this analysis ATTOM Data Solutions looked at test scores for 18,968 elementary schools nationwide in 4,435 zip codes with a combined 45.9 million single family homes and condos.
  • School test scores are from each state’s Department of Education in 2015. Test scores are based around the test average of each state with the state average being a score of 1.
  • For purposes of this report, a good school was defined as any with an overall test score at least one-third above the state average (1.33 or higher).
  • The highest scoring school in each zip code was used for the zip code analysis.
  • Home value and median price data is from publicly recorded sales deeds and mortgages for single family homes and condos.
  • Home value data is as of July 2016, and median home prices are based on January to June 2016 sales compared to the same time period in previous years.
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