With both parents and all of my siblings either current or former serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, my family is intimately familiar with all that goes into a move—whether across town or across the country. The options when buying that new home are seemingly endless, from proximity to grocery stores and other amenities, to neighbourhood walkability, to, of course, number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
As more young couples and families begin to look at buying their first homes, one factor stands out above the rest in ways that it may not have before— a home’s proximity to good schools. Whether purchasing because of a move or simply as the next step after renting, for many the consideration of local elementary and even high schools, and the catchment district into which their new home may fall, is front-of-mind for young buyers in today’s market.
Throughout my nineteen years in real estate, I have worked with people of all age and income brackets. As time progresses and with some becoming repeat clients, it has been interesting to me to see the way that priorities change over time. Many clients who were young singles when we first worked together are now parents (or soon-to-be parents), and are buying in specific neighbourhoods because of their little ones’ future schools!
It’s not only parents with University and College dreams who are house shopping with specific schools in mind, either. In a Realtor.com survey of almost 1,000 prospective buyers, more than 90 percent said that school boundaries were an important factor in their search. Whether looking for a solid French immersion program, a plethora of after school activities, or simply a high overall school ranking, the reality is that a high priority is being placed on schools.
This also has farther-reaching effects on the real estate market than may seem obvious at first. As more parents pay attention to the Fraser Institute rankings and public opinion on schools in their prospective neighbourhoods, many forward-thinking buyers without children, and who never intend to have them, are purposely buying within the boundaries of good school districts too. Why? Not only do neighbourhoods and communities with good schools often attract better amenities and resources, but this higher demand for homes also naturally increases the value of the homes in that area. Beyond the home’s increase in value, is the high likelihood of being able to resell easily when the time comes; homes in good school districts are always in demand and unlikely to leave sellers waiting for too long.
I never imagined, at the beginning of my real estate career, how much I would learn about the relative merits of elementary and high schools. Whether you have kids now, plan to someday, or simply want to ensure you get good value in your next home purchase, school districts have become one of the most important considerations you can make. Time to study up!