Why Howard County School Ratings Matter

When people buy a home, a multitude of factors influence their choice. The appearance of the home, as well as its size, age, and proximity to amenities are all important to varying degrees, depending on the individual buyer.

The local school district is one factor with significant influence. In 2014 the National Association of Realtors conducted a survey of homebuyers and found that 22 percent of them states a home’s proximity to a school as a part of their purchasing decision. Twenty-nine percent of the homebuyers listed school’s quality as a factor.

Buyers are also willing to put their money where their mouths are. One out of five home buyers said they would pay 6 to 10 percent above their budget for the right school. One out of 10 would double that to 20 percent. Another study looking at home prices in 2006 and then again in 2009 found that homes that had higher-rated schools nearby tended to weather the falling real estate market much better than those in lesser-rated schools school zones. This indicates that buying a home in a good school district just makes good financial sense, since good schools can help insulate a home from market fluctuations making the property a safer investment.

It is hard to deny that there is strong consumer demand for good schools, making purchasing a home in Howard County a wise investment. National publications and organizations have repeatedly named Howard County’s public school system one of the leading in the nation. Schools in towns like Glenwood, Columbia, Ellicott City, Clarksville, and Fulton are not only recognized state-wide but many rank in the top 1000 schools across the United States according to the standard US News and World Report. In 2015, Howard County students’ composite SAT score rose 6 points over the prior last year, and were 186 points higher than the national average, indicating a continuing trend of academic excellence.

Homes in the best school districts, on average, sell for higher prices than similar homes in less-popular school districts. Making a decision on buying a home should definitely include an analysis of the school district, even for buyers who do not intend to send children to those schools. Good schools provide stability for a community, and that is good for the property values of everyone who lives nearby.