Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Seattle Home Value Increases by Nearest School

seattle-wa-school-zones-and-homesFrom the Puget Sound Business Journal:

Seattle-based online real estate company Redfin undertook a study to find out about the correlation between highly-ranked schools and local real estate prices and found out in Seattle, a highly-ranked school nearby can add to a home's value by more than $40,000.

"When accounting for size, on average, people pay $50 more per square foot for homes in top-ranked school zones compared with homes served by average-ranked schools ... While we expected to see higher prices for homes in highly-ranked school zones, we didn’t expect the difference to be so large," Redfin said in a statement.

The map is showing a home in Wedgwood versus John Rogers.

From the Redfin blog:

 In the United States, housing prices in the zones of highly ranked public schools are remarkably higher than those served by lower ranked schools.

Everyone assumes that better school districts tend to have bigger homes, higher quality homes, larger lots, or a more prime location (views, quiet streets, etc). We’ve debunked that assumption.  


Anonymous said...

Much of Wedgwood also has sidewalks which also adds to a home's value there.


Anonymous said...

Those of us who live in the southend (with views and proximity to beautiful Lake Washington and Seward Park) have known this for years. Since the NSAP went into effect, or property values have dropped by at least $50,000. C'est le vie!


Anonymous said...

@Melissa. There's no "d" in John Rogers, which is, by the way, has been an "above average" school for our family.

We toured Wedgwood, back in the day of school choice, and chose John Rogers for a number of reasons, including that we liked the feel of John Rogers better than Wedgwood, and we wanted our kids to be at a school where all the kids didn't look the same or come from the same socio-economic background.

Any idea how schools were ranked? Was it just based upon test scores?

I wonder if the middle school instability/unpredictability contributes to the housing price differences, or if it is mostly driven by home purchases by young families who are not thinking that far ahead.

-JR Mom

SusanH said...

Totally, Solvay Girl. We bought in the southend under the open choice system. We assumed as proactive parents, we could have a range of schools to choose from as long as we did our research. Now, under NSAP, we're out of luck. Our home is much less valuable to a young family when Aki and RBHS are the schools they would have to send their kids to...

Jet City mom said...

We were very naive when we bought a home within five blocks of an elementary school not knowing anything about Seattle schools. Neither of our kids ever attended, for different reasons, and for a while the way the boundary was set, kids on our street were assigned to a school two miles away.

As affordable single family homes have been torn down to build pods, neighborhoods are less attractive to families regardless of the school situation.

Anonymous said...

Many out-of-area realtors still tell potential buyers in WS that the schools here "suck." What they don't know is that they are cutting their own throats by being naive and ignorant. People who've been here awhile are knocking the doors down to get into the schools.

Solvay & Co: The bright side is that, after years of the choice system, where low performing schools were simply ignored and easy to avoid, now people have the cause, via reduced choice, and skin in the game to force SPS to deal with festering problems easily ignored under the old choice system. Before it was, "you don't like it? Okay, how about school X across town?" Nothing fixed, but Problem Solved!

RB, for example, suffered greatly as people avoided it largely because other people avoided it. Then the district almost closed it in 2008, and we've seen what happens to schools once they are placed on the chopping block: People avoid them. Had there been 1400 kids instead of 400 then attending the school, it would have gotten more attention and resources way back when, especially if kids were assigned there and couldn't easily opt out. Under choice, it was, as a former board member said, the school "with almost 1000 empty seats" because "nobody wants to go there." Except, of course, for the oft-overlooked, taken-for-granted and maligned 400 kids already there.

My contention is that, while some are are now being assigned to schools they don't want, we've gone from 3 or 4 popular high schools to 8, with West Seattle and Franklin joining the ranks of Hale, Ingraham and Sealth as popular schools again. And Cleveland and RB are much better shape and on the right path compared to a few short years ago. Can we go 10 for 10? It's now possible, where it wasn't under the choice system. Lincoln will be popular too, the day it comes online,so that number is sure to grow to 9, which is a sea change from a few years ago. Finally, given the hugely popular Stem K-5 at Boren, which will evolve into a K-8, many kids (who don't go to Aviation) will go on to Cleveland from there. So, with IB going into RB, it's safe to say that all of our high schools are doing well, or heading in the right direction under the NSAP, a far cry from a few years ago.

I think the latest flap over the change in pathways from Hawthorne, for example, is the result of Mercer becoming better and more desirable for families in the last couple years, rather then Aki getting worse. That's a positive. Hopefully with Mercer doing well, the district can now focus more resources on schools like Aki, day-in-and-day- out, instead of launching another magic bullet (or Hail Mary) like the SE Initiative and seeing what happens.

I know people miss the choice system, but in a growing, overcrowded district today's numbers be crippling us under choice, and many more people would be unhappy. We now have people happy to be at Ingraham, Hale, Franklin and West Seattle, which wasn't the case under choice. Remember the fight between the Queen Anne and Crown Hill folks over who got Ballard and who got Ingraham? That was all caused by Ingraham's second tier reputation - deserving or not - which is not the case at all anymore.

Overall, from my perspective, the NSAP is improving more schools throughout the district than the choice system ever could. In fact, choice exacerbated the disparities because problems simply were not dealt with.


Anonymous said...

Spin it all you like. We've heard it all before from surface light rail to NSAP. Grim realities from high crime rates, reduced home value, to high FRL & ELL aren't going to equalize things out. Separate, but equal. I don't think so.


Anonymous said...


If West Seattle High School was a popular school, it would have a waitlist for 9th grade. Only one other than Rainier Beach that doesn't.


Melissa Westbrook said...

"Stem K-5 at Boren, which will evolve into a K-8, many kids (who don't go to Aviation) will go on to Cleveland from there."

I'll be interested to see if that plays out. I have my doubts.

Anonymous said...

Lynn: West Seattle's popularity is rising meteorically. It's turned the corner. Ask any family of Freshman or Sophomores and they'll say they're happy with it. Everyone I speak with who has kids going there is happy about it, versus "just okay" or "not too happy" in years past. It has little to do with the leadership, and more to do the rising wave of parents from the neighborhood who won't stand for the crap that's harmed the school's reputation in years past. It's been a sea change over the last 2 years, and more and more active families at Madison will be at WS High in the next couple years. The school is on the right track and people are seeing it, feeling it, and experiencing it.

You may get differing opinions from parents of Jrs and Srs than from Sophs & Frosh. I know a lot more parents in the lower grades at or near my own kids' ages, versus parents of older kids, so I can't speak as well for them.

And, Lynn, if you know WS, you know that bad reputations linger forever over here. For example, I still hear concerns about Gatewood's "bad reputation" which began with a controversial principal who pissed off parents in the early 90's, and was later exacerbated from challenges foisted upon the school meeting the needs of ELL and other kids after the '08 closures.

WS High is rising fast, Lynn. The problem is, it started from a deep hole it was in as kids from the neighborhood opted for the shiny new Sealth and private schools instead of it, and some described it as a "vocational school" and such, not too long ago.

It's the people going there that make the difference, and it's happening, just like with Hale, Franklin and Ingraham.


Anonymous said...

So, what 2cities? Is the situation hopeless and cannot be changed? Is that your contention? WSDWG

Anonymous said...

2cities: I do understand your point. But the situation around Garfield is illustrative: At the same time we've had multiple shooting deaths very near the campus, we have a group at Mann wanting to take over the school, and a business being torched by "anti-Gentrification" forces (essentially). The hi rent epidemic will hit the South End and things will change as gentrification, for better or worse, prices some of the bad elements out. A mayor who can deal with a police department might help some too.

Despite much investment in the South and SE, some vexing problems remain there that other parts of the city don't have to deal with on their front step. I get that.

And I'm not saying Aki will ever have Eckstein's test scores. But I'm saying it can be a lot better for the kids it serves than it has been in years past, as the number of schools that serve people well in the district increases.

There will never be separate but equal. A district employee I know says it like this: The NE is gold, the NW is silver. West Seattle is Bronze and the SE comes in 4th. It will be that way for a long time to come. While we all wish it were different, and I wish WS schools were as good as those in Laurelhurst, Queen Anne or other upper crust areas, I can live with the fact that they aren't, and won't be, so long as the kids going through them are getting good educations regardless.

The question is not, is school A as "good" as school B. The questions are: Is school X doing as well as it can for the students who attend it? And are those kids getting decent educations, or not?

We have schools in rich neighborhoods that don't do well, like Madrona and Leschi (historically), and we have schools in poorer areas that do well, like Van Asselt and Mercer. Yes, I'm generalizing like hell, but not spinning anything. They manage to buck the trends.

Lastly, we can't blame the schools for high crime rates (not that you're doing that, but some do). Criminal activity is a choice, not an "option." Yes, the better educated commit less crimes, in general, but honestly, look at Wall Street? How many Ivy League degrees hang on the walls of those crooks? Just a thought.

My overall point is that, with more schools doing better and with less problems to solve, it should allow time and resources to finally reach the schools that have been waiting forever at the end of the line. I am optimistic and hopeful about Aki and RB, because I know lots of people who live there, bought houses there recently, and are committed to the neighborhood. And, with things like blogs, problems can be voiced and reach wider, larger numbers of people than in years past, so problems are much harder to hide and ignore. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, right?


Anonymous said...

The Redfin blog post is odd: it lists a Bothell elementary school in the list of pockets within cities where low price and good schools meet (meaning, they have bothell as an ex of where to get a good deal and good school in SEATTLE. huh?). Also, Wedgwood Elem is listed as a 10 (greatschools-I know) but John Rogers is a 7. A 7 doesn't seem average.

Anyone buying a house in SPS under the NSAP should know that the "predictability" of the NSAP doesn't exist. Boundaries change, tie-breakers change, families have additional kids (who won't be grandfathered), and it's pretty likely that you can't predict your kid's HS based on your address when they're in elementary. The only predictable things in SPS... yup, lack of predictability.