“Our ratings provide an overview of a school’s test performance by comparing the school’s state standardized test results to those of other schools in the state. Ratings are given for each grade and student category (gender, ethnicity or other student group) for which test results are available. Keep in mind that when comparing schools using GreatSchools Ratings, it’s important to factor in other information, including the quality of each school’s teachers, the school culture, special programs, etc.”
Highly ranked school districts may have been spared the worst of the foreclosure crisis, according to a new analysis, showing that the housing crash was akin to a tornado that tore through wide swaths, but hit with particular force in certain areas.
The analysis, conducted for Developments by Location Inc., a Worcester, Mass.-based company that mines local data for businesses and consumers, looked at six months of 2011 sales data collected by RealtyTrac Inc. It showed that the percentage of foreclosure (or “real-estate-owned”) sales went down as the school ranking went up in five metro areas – Jacksonville, Fla; Atlanta; Toledo, Ohio; Stockton, Calif.; and Seattle. Higher-rated school districts also maintained higher home-sale prices, and higher home prices per square foot.
“If you are looking to buy into one of these good school districts, it is very rare to find a foreclosure,” said Location Inc.’s chief executive Andrew Schiller, an expert in demographic analysis who conducted the research with his colleague Jonathan Glick. “It’s better to just go into a normal sale.” (The five cities were chosen to provide a general market overview.)
The finding is, to a certain extent, not a surprise. Schools have long been a driver for home buyers, whether in determining location or timing. So it would make sense that school ranking could serve as a kind of proxy for measuring the damage from the foreclosure crisis.
It’s also not that foreclosure sales don’t exist in highly ranked districts; they are just much less of a factor, and the reason could be income. Stan Humphries, chief economist for real-estate data company Zillow, said that it’s “likely both educational outcomes and foreclosures are ultimately linked to income, not to each other.”
The upper tier of homeowners saw less of an impact from the housing crash than the bottom tier, according to Mr. Humphries; the top third of homes dropped 26% from the recent high point; the bottom third of homes in value fell 37%. Some sought-after neighborhoods probably saw less severe price erosion, which in turn helped sustain property taxes and protect a vital funding source for schools.
Mr. Schiller said he sees school quality as both a result and a driver of income concentrations in parts of metropolitan areas. “Once in place, the higher-quality school systems reinforce this, causing higher demand for properties there, and higher values.”
Good schools may also be one of few factors keeping buyers in certain markets today, further bolstering prices and property-tax bases in sought-after districts like Newton, Mass. and Cupertino, Calif., said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of the online brokerage Redfin. “People always want to live in those school districts,” Mr. Kelman said. “And those school districts have remained well-financed even as neighboring districts have to cut costs.”
The boom brought in all kinds of potential buyers, Mr. Kelman said, but potential buyers today “better have a damn good reason, and usually that reason is 6 years old.”
School is getting ready to start, or has started around North SD County.
We’ve discussed school districts before and their importance to the homebuying equation – whether you have kids or not. Let’s revisit the scorecard.
I know a couple of people who were at the freshman orientation for San Marcos High School last week. The principal announced to the crowd that their API scores were going to ‘rock the county’.
I don’t know if he was referring to the current scores, future scores, or just optimistic in general. But San Marcos HS has been working its way up the charts, and recently announced that they were going to re-build the school too.
Here are the latest scores:
# of kids
La Costa Cyn
With both SDA and CCA having to conduct lotteries to determine enrollment (there are 200 kids on the waiting list at CCA, allegedly), is it worth considering other areas outside of the prime San Dieguito High School District?
You can purchase a similar home in San Elijo Hills/Rancho Carrillo and attend San Marcos HS, or live in 92127 and attend Westview HS, and save six-figures over what it would cost you in the nearby prime areas within the San Dieguito High School District.
Is it worth it to take a flyer on the up-and-coming high schools?
When looking at all the ingredients, could schools be one for compromise, given that Torrey Pines and LCC appear to be human after all? Prices in Carmel Valley have been holding up, and if you could get a deal on a house outside the 92130, it might be worth considering.
Potential homebuyers use school test scores as a primary tool when deciding where to live, and how much they are willing to pay (they might add a little mustard to their offer price to be in a top school district). It is smart to own in a top-rated school district, even if you don’t have kids – because good test scores help to drive home values.
Here are the elementary schools that scored over 900, and the high schools in rank order:
School (district in bold)
2010 Base API
Del Mar Union
Carmel Del Mar
Del Mar Heights
Del Mar Hills
Solana Santa Fe
El Camino Creek
La Costa Heights
La Costa Meadows
(Click here to see the chart for all schools in San Diego County.)
Between time restraints and fewer good stories available, we’ll take it easy in the beginning – hopefully there will be more posts. If you have a specific lead or idea that you’d like OCRenter to explore, leave it in the comment section, or email me. Here we go – welcome OCRenter:
How Special is Torrey Pines HS?
Carmel Valley has remained almost completely immune from any significant price collapse.
The question naturally is why?
The general consensus is simply that it has the perfect combo of criteria. It has the schools, its proximity to employment centers, and its proximity to the beach. But on the face of it, API scores just does not demonstrate a dramatic difference to compared to neighboring schools. Nor does a reduction of 10-15 minutes in commute time truly justify that Carmel Valley Premium in home prices.
So why is Carmel Valley the Promised Land? Using the UC stat finder site, here is what we have for the Class of 2009 (API for 2010 included for reference):
*note, Harvard/Westlake graduating class number inferred from total students.
In essence, as far as the Class of ’09 goes, Torrey Pines High is so good that it is on par with Uni High of Irvine and it actually edges out the most prominent private prep school of the land in regard to UC applications.
But is this just noise? Has Torrey Pines always been this good? The answer is no.
Going back the last decade, not counting ‘09, Torrey Pines seniors have achieved between 46% to 52% UC admission rate except for a single breakout year with the Class of ’01 when 58% were granted UC admission. I also do not see a pattern of gradual increase of percentage over the last decade to suggest an obvious trend.
While Torrey Pines may not be this good, year to year, on average it is still better in comparison to neighboring competitor schools. For example, of the 9 years data is available, Torrey Pines has averaged a 50% UC acceptance rate. For Scripps Ranch, that 9 year average stands at 42%.
Does an 8% edge on UC acceptance justify a $200k premium on an average sized house on most likely a smaller sized yard? You be the judge.
Here’s a crazy idea when thinking about what high school to choose for your kids. What colleges will be in the running?
Between the intense competition and budget cutbacks, you can’t just stroll into a UC campus with any old HS grades – heck, you need a 3.50 GPA just to get into many majors at San Diego State!
Should you consider an easier high school, in order for your kids to get a higher GPA – and increase the college choices?
Wifey thinks this thought is preposterous – of course you send the kids to the best high school available. But in this budget-conscious era, if you want to get into the best colleges, the 4.0 GPA might be required – especially if you have young kids, and are looking at 5-15 years from now.
The thought of glossy high schools doing a better job preparing kids for college with more-rigorous school work makes sense, but if good HS grades are tougher to come by, and a lower GPA occurs, it could make getting into a top college harder, not easier.
At the upper-echelon high schools, there is also some peer pressure to attend a big-time college, when you hear others around you are going to Harvard, MIT, Cal, and Stanford. The budget cutbacks at big-time schools will likely continue – did you see where Cal dropped it’s baseball program this week, after 100+ years of existence and winning two national championships?
Should the difficulty of getting into the best colleges be considered when choosing a high school?
By the way, on the thought that Cathedral Catholic HS is full of rich kids; they do reach out to the community – at least one-quarter of those enrolled are on scholarship.
With the local inventory of quality properties being fairly tight, some homebuyers are considering where they might compromise. Can you live with a smaller home and/or lot? A home that needs work? Different neighborhoods?
Or how about school districts?
Would you consider a change in schools when you can get a better value on homes in that district? There are highly-ranked elementary and middle schools in most districts, let’s just look at the high schools for this discussion.
I’m not advocating Westview or San Marcos High Schools, but when you can get substantially more house for the money, are they worth considering? Parts of Carlsbad are in the San Marcos district, and Westview isn’t far from Carmel Valley for the buyers who are looking for those locations.
The parent ratings and comments on the website could be unduly influenced, but the API testing is administered by the state. From the greatschools website:
Although test results can be an indicator of what’s happening in the classroom, they don’t tell you everything about the quality of a school. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final determination.The API Statewide Rank ranges from 1 to 10. A rank of 10, for example, means that the school’s API fell into the top 10% of all schools in the state with a comparable grade range.
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