Even if you’re not already thinking about school districts while you’re looking for a home, the ratings of nearby schools in your district will impact the price, value, and demand of the properties you’re considering—making it an important point of consideration for any homebuyer.

How are school ratings formed?

School ratings are ranked based on academic standing. The Fraser Institute publishes an annual report of school rankings, created using publicly available data, like the average results on standardized tests, which show whether the academic standing is rising or falling.

Consider school data when you’re buying your home

If you’re a parent, it will be more obvious for you to consider schools in your buying decision. Studies show that 84% of Canadian parents consider schools when they’re considering a new home purchase. But school ratings and accessibility affect the value and cost of a home for those without children too.

Studies show that 84% of Canadian parents consider schools when they’re considering a new home purchase.

Why do school ratings affect property value?

The presence of a school itself—regardless of rankings—generally raises the property value of the homes in the immediate area. This is partly based on the demand for homes in highly-rated school districts. Single-family, detached homes near schools with high ratings are in higher demand, which raises their property value.

How important is a school rating when buying or selling my house?

Even if you don’t have kids, a highly-rated school nearby could increase the value of the home you’re buying or selling. According to a study by the New York Times, a 5% improvement in school test scores in the United States can raise property prices by 2.5%.

Assess school value beyond the rating

Although school ratings influence buying decisions, it’s not all about the ratings. Even though test scores (like those used by The Fraser Institute) are important, other factors like arts and music programs, diversity, and before and after-school programs are also indicators you can use to assess the value of a school district. These methods help contextualize the importance of ratings. For example, some schools with lower ratings might offer after-school care, or have a great music program desirable to a family with musical kids. 

Less space for your money

A home in a highly-rated school district might increase the value of your home, but it will also increase the price of your home and could impact your property taxes as well. So if school accessibility isn’t important to you, or you don’t plan on having children, then you may get less for your money to be near a highly-rated school. 

 

If you’re a parent choosing a district for a highly-rated school, ask yourself if the rating is worth the price difference or space sacrifice. Look beyond school ratings and see how parents are talking about the school community, teachers, and educational programs online. Some schools without top-ranking scores might have other features your kids would benefit from; like sports teams, after-school programs, or a strong parent community that advocates for the kids. By choosing a lower-rated district, you might be able to afford other perks like outdoor space or extra room.

School ratings can change or impact education

As you factor school ratings into your buying and selling decisions, remember that ratings are released on a yearly basis, and may rise or fall. 

 

When you’re considering a school rating in the context of your own child’s education, consider that highly-rated schools might come with pressure to keep a high rating. For children with exceptionalities or those who don’t thrive in traditional academic settings, a school with a high rating might not be the best learning environment for them to thrive. Highly-rated schools in desirable districts may also have bigger class sizes, which can affect a student’s experience.

How important is a school rating when buying or selling my house?

With OJO, you can search from over 15,000 public and private schools across Canada to find homes assigned to your preferred school. You can also see, at a glance, the schools near a particular property and some of the programs they offer.

 

Here are some factors to consider when determining the right school for your family:  

 

  • Ask locals and professionals for insight. Your agent can give you information on the schools in the nearby areas, and offer insight into how they affect property value.
  • Use resources like The Fraser Institute for school-specific data on schools in the districts you’re considering.
  • Visit the school or district website for information on the school’s programs, and do a Google search to see what people are saying online about the quality of the school and programs.
  • Visit the school in-person.
  • Consider local middle and high schools as well; if you’re moving for a good school, what happens when your kids outgrow it? Look at schools in neighbouring districts as well.

OJO can help you weigh your homebuying and selling options

Our site lets you search for a home by school name, shows you what district the property is in, and can help you locate nearby schools. OJO helps you navigate the complex homebuying and selling process with a tailored home search experience, professional support, and resources to inform your decisions.

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