Portland School Ratings Change Home Values

Several considerations factor into buying a home, and school district might play a part in your decision-making process. The reason being: school rankings impact home values.

A home’s value gets assessed and appraised both before listing and before sale. For more information on this, read our article on the differences between inspections and appraisals.

While school rankings aren’t directly taken into account by appraisers and assessors, they do affect a home’s value. So, how does a school’s ranking figure into it all?

Before we get to that, let’s get clear on what a school ranking is.

What Makes a School Ranking?

First off, we’ll say that school rankings are somewhat tenuous. There is no overarching, prescribed process or method to determine school rankings, and no one entity or organization is responsible for determining these rankings.

Greatschools.org (Non-Profit)

However, greatschools.org is a resource for finding U.S. school rankings. They’re an independent nonprofit with a stated mission to help parents provide the best possible educations for their kids. Always finding better methods and criteria to give the most accurate information, they collect data on a variety of data points, not just test scores. They also look at student progress from the beginning of the school year to the end, college readiness ratings for high schools, and equity ratings to see how schools serve the development of disadvantaged kids, and more.

While it isn’t the final word on the quality of any school, Great Schools is an excellent resource to help you sort out school rankings in any neighborhood, based on their 10-point scale.

Learn more about how greatschools.com acquires and assess data for school rankings.

Oregon Report Cards

Oregon Department of Education also “rates” every school in the state. It does this by producing a report card and ranking the public schools in Oregon by a number of different factors.

You can see the official Oregon school report cards website here. Or go here to directly type in the Oregon school you’re researching.

How do School Rankings Affect Home Values?

When people are focused on their kids’ educations, they’ll make concessions on home features.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2021 Buyers and Sellers Report, half of buyers with children under 18 years old stated that an important influencing factor in their decision when buying a home was schools. The report goes on to say that the most common compromise was the price of the home (27%) with the condition of the home coming in second (21%).

This maintains the 2018 report released by Realtor.com, which stated that 78% of buyers chose to forego garages, large back yards, and updated kitchens in favor of highly ranked schools.

Parents aren’t the only ones who care about school rankings when buying a home. Even those without kids sometimes base their decision on school rankings because they know these increase the chances of getting a higher price. So, when anticipating the ROI of their purchase, this factor plays an important part in their decision-making process, as well.

While current, hard data is difficult to locate, in an effort to find some kind of correlation between schools and home prices, we looked to a 2019 U.S. Census article titled “Public School Spending Per Pupil Increases by Largest Amount in 11 Years.” This, along with a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which states that every dollar spent per pupil in additional taxes raised home values by $20.

Pair that with the reality that property taxes are currently higher than ever here in Portland, and the correlation becomes clear.

Can You ask Your Realtor to Advise You on Schools?

No. It is illegal for a Realtor to guide you toward a particular school, a practice sometimes called “steering.” These laws are meant to protect communities from division in the form of racism and economic inequality. Realtors can point you to resources, but you’ll have to perform your own research.

The truth is, you might find that many schools that don’t rate the highest are staffed by dedicated, caring educators, which can make all the different in a child’s level of success. As a buyer, that’s something you’ll have to seek out and determine on your own. Fortunately, there are ways to gather plenty of good information about schools in the Portland area.

How Do I Learn More about My School District?

If you’re planning to view a home, consider using the Portland Public Schools’ search tool to find out which schools serve the address you’re interested in. Portlandmaps.com is also a great resource. There, you can search for any address in Portland. On the right hand side, there’s a drop down menu where you can search for nearby public and private schools. Then, don’t be shy! Contact the school to see if you can set up a tour or talk with a point person on staff.

As we mentioned above, Great Schools is an excellent resource. There are other tools available, as well, like the Oregon Department of Education, which provides report cards on schools. Simply search for the school near the home you want to buy, and you’ll be able to access “At-A-Glance Profiles.” Due to the pandemic, they also provide “Adapted-At-A-Glance Profiles” to allow for alterations in previous data.

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March 21, 2022
AUTHOR

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

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