The Link Between Schools + Home Values—RI’s Top High Schools 2013

Saturday, June 01, 2013


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Families look to buy homes in communities where they can take advantage of strong public schools, according to Realtors.

While the adage about real estate might have been "location, location, location," the reality is, according to Realtors in Rhode Island, it should be "schools, schools, schools."

"Families want to live in an area with a good school system," said Stephen Antoni, former President of the RI Association of Realtors, "particularly if they have school-age children, or are planning to, and they don't plan on sending them to private school."

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Kate Coogan, a Residential Properties Realtor with the company's Barrington office since 1998, sees this every day in her work. "I believe the Barrington public schools plays a huge role in the home buying decision," she said. "It's the number-one consideration for many families moving here, to take advantage of the high-performing schools."

Providence's ongoing challenges

For agents on Providence's East Side, this can affect buying patterns, said Leslie Kellogg, a sales associate at Residential Properties who lives on the East Side and has three children in the Providence public school system as well as private schools. "Schools, quality of life, taxes, and commutes are top concerns," she said. "Schools top the list - and when combined with high taxes in Providence, buyers often opt out of considering Providence or the East Side."

Kellogg pointed out, however, that recent reforms in elementary and middle school education, combined with the promise of Classical High School, may be nudging this pattern in a Providence-oriented direction. "Families are staying put on the East Side, and new families are moving here," she said, "because for the first time there is a high-quality public education path here."

Public schools matter to buyers without children

Statewide, strong public schools even matter to buyers who don't plan to use them. "School systems are even a factor for those without any children, because a good school system helps increase the resale value of a home," said Stephen Antoni. Residential Properties Sales Associate Katie Baker, who works in Cumberland, agreed. "A community's public school system really drives the location choice for most of the home-buying public," she said. "It's a reflection on future resale value."

While young families often focus short-term on neighborhood elementary schools, Baker sees the high school as the driving factor in decision-making. "The high school probably holds the most weight," she said. Antoni agreed. "They're important for a couple of reasons," he said. "Families understand that the more demanding a high school is, the better prepared their graduates will be for college. Many parents know that colleges rate high schools, so when kids are applying to college, they'll have better chances getting in if their high school does well in the college ratings."

"It's paramount in the decision on where to buy and live," said Coogan.

What do parents ask about local schools?

According to Realtors, they most often are asked about:

Graduation rate
How many grads go to college
Student/teacher ratio
What AP courses are offered
What sports programs they have and how they do
Test scores
Class size
How the bus routes work

See how all Rhode Island's high schools ranked, here. 


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