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Millennial Buyers Favor Cities With Better School Districts

For some time now, those familiar with the real estate industry have acknowledge that millennials hold the key to recovery. The recession, in association with the rebound, has made it increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to purchase a house. Of particular concern, however, are the ill effects this void has had on the housing sector. Economic circumstances have prevented an entire generation of potential buyers from contributing to the housing market.

Fortunately, encouraging signs have signaled an end to their financial struggles. The crisis that has burdened millennials for years appears to be easing. Experts predict that a strengthening labor force will allow millennials to contribute to the housing market within two to five years. The influx of new buyers is expected to stimulate the U.S. housing sector sooner rather than later.

With that in mind, the next generation of homebuyers appears to be on the move already. The only question is where?

Not surprisingly, millennials have showed an interest in suburban neighborhoods. Accordingly, younger buyers have demonstrated an increased propensity for moving away from urban areas to the suburbs if it means better schools. Who can blame them? Not only are Millennials coming of age, but the economic uncertainty of the past has begun to ease. Job availability is expected to increase, particularly for those with degrees. Essentially, now is the time that this population will consider having children. Relocating to a good school district is only natural.

As a means to quantify millennials’ recent attraction to good school districts, Realtor.com® evaluated the most popular cities and schools in the nation. Using its search-by-school feature, which allows people to explore homes for sale based on specific schools and school districts, Realtor.com revealed the most popular cities attracting millennials.

The Realtor.com® search-by-school feature helps buyers quickly and easily filter accurate local school information so they can decide which homes meet their family’s educational needs. Some of its key features include the following information:

  • GreatSchools data displayed for each school including parent ratings, student to teacher ratio, test scores and a GreatSchools ranking
  • An interactive map shows GreatSchools ratings and assignment boundaries for each school in a local area
  • Homes can be searched by public schools or school districts

Millennials—otherwise known as those born between 1980 and 2000—are less inclined to compromise on school districts when it comes to purchasing a home. Data suggests that schools can greatly influence the direction millennial buyers take. Fifty-two percent of this population acknowledged that school districts are a deal-breaker in regards to their home search. Conversely, only 31% of all buyers revealed that their decision would be swayed because of surrounding schools.

“Local schools are clearly more important to specific population segments—such as today’s Millennials, who either have or are planning to have children,” said Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com®. “High-ranking schools can have a positive impact on home values over time as new families pay a premium for access to better schools.”

According to Realtor.com information, the top 10 cities in which millennials sought out better school districts were located in affordable, suburban communities outside of larger urban areas. This may come as a surprise to many, as schools have rarely served as the driving force to move to the suburbs. Generally, the suburbs attract younger buyers because of their close proximity to urban job markets and less expensive housing. However, it appears as if schools have supplanted jobs. As of June, the top 10 cities were as follows:

  • Bethel, NC
  • Gadsden, AL
  • Agoura, CA
  • Kensington, MD
  • Greenwood Village, CO
  • Greenacres, FL
  • Watuga, TX
  • La Crescent, MN
  • North Hollywood, CA
  • Fairburn, GA

While high schools are usually the most common factor in determining desirable school districts, Realtor.com® data also discovered that elementary schools are drawing an equal amount of interest. Eight of the top 10 most popular schools viewed on Realtor.com® included kindergarten through fifth grade institutions. As such, the majority of people who research good schools either have young children or expect to start a family when they buy their next home.

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