Report: Many homebuyers can’t afford to live in areas with ‘good schools’

A new report finds at least 6-in-10 families in America cannot afford to buy a home in a zip code where better-quality schools are located.

The report from RealtyTrac shows 65 percent of the zip codes in America where “good schools” are located are beyond the means of most families. They define “good schools” as those with superior test score results.

RealtyTrac Vice-President Darren Blomquist explains their criteria for home affordability/unaffordabilty “as spending more than a third of your income to buy a median-priced home.”

According to Blomquist, there were only two zip codes in New Jersey, one in Elizabeth and the other in Bloomfield in that good school/affordability “sweet spot.”

“The school quality does have an impact on your quality of life,” he said.

Blomquist said that holds true whether or not you have children. He says their research shows school quality is nevertheless a driver for home values everywhere.

“When I look at the median sales price in all of those zip code with any type of school whether it is a good school or not, the average home price is about $312,000, which may not seem so bad,” Blomquist said. “But when I look in the markets in New Jersey that have good schools, the average home price is $568,000, compared to that $312,000. So there is definitely a premium on those markets that have the good schools.”

In the RealtyTrac survey, the most unaffordable zip codes with good schools were located in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and San Diego. Metro areas with the most affordable zip codes with good schools were Chicago, Detroit, Phoenix, Miami and Charlotte.

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