The District’s oft-talked about millennial boom has led to a baby boom. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of children younger than 5 has increased by almost 20 percent in the District, from 33,000 to 39,000, according to Census figures.
Strong public schools are crucial in helping to retain these millennials so they don’t decamp for the suburbs as soon as their children hit school age. And if these families don’t want to fork up college-like tuition for a private elementary school or rely on the increasingly competitive charter school lottery system — where about 44 percent of the city’s students are enrolled — they’re going to have to rely on their neighborhood public school.
So how much does it cost to purchase a house within the boundaries of what is considered to be a high-performing school? A lot. The median price for a typical three-bedroom home, for instance, zoned for a D.C. Public School elementary school where 80 percent or more students are proficient or advanced in reading costs more than $800,000.
The always-interesting District, Measured — a blog from the city’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer — sifted through this data to determine how much it would cost to purchase a house in a neighborhood zoned for a top public elementary school. The main, and expected, takeaway: The best schools are not equally distributed throughout the city. The most expensive homes and best schools are in upper Northwest neighborhoods, and the cheapest homes are east of the river, along with a high concentration of low-performing schools.
The median sales price of a house in a school zone where 60 to 80 percent of students are proficient or advanced in reading will run between the high $600,000s to more than $1 million.
The interactive graph below plots public elementary schools based on their test scores and the median sales price for a three-bedroom home in that school’s boundaries. Typically, the higher the test scores, the higher it costs to live there. There are neighborhoods, like Logan Circle and Petworth, that have experienced rapidly rising housing costs in recent years, though their schools, when measured by test scores, are not high-performing.
The school that boasts the highest real estate costs with the lowest test scores is Garrison Elementary School in the Logan Circle/Shaw neighborhood. The median home sales price there is about $1.1 million and only 25 percent of students test at proficient or advanced levels.
These next charts allow you to sort through schools based on their performance and your budget. If you’re looking at one of the best-performing schools, those are clustered in upper Northwest neighborhoods and Capitol Hill. The median price for homes in these areas start at $750,000 and go to well over $1 million. If you want a three-bedroom house for less than $300,000, you’ll have to move east of the river. When ranked on a five-point scale — with five being the lowest-performing schools and one being the highest-performing — most elementary schools there have a four or five ranking. But a few schools, like Leckie, Ketcham and Nalle, have a “two” ranking. In the Nalle district, the median home price is $150,000.