Excellent Schools Bring Premium Prices for Luxury Chicago Homes

Whether you’re raising preschoolers, high schoolers, or even just thinking about building a family, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about where they’ll go to school. Being in the right district has become an incredibly important factor of Chicago real estate, with proximity to well-rated schools correlating with quick sales and higher prices.
Today in Chicago, just the mere mention that a home for sale is within a particular district sets the phones ringing off the hook from broker to clients. A good local school can be one of the biggest drivers in a community, and parents are willing to go to great lengths to to live in a neighborhood that has one. Chicago was even recently named in a list of top 10 U.S. markets where booming real estate values and good school districts had strong correlations.
There are a few schools that parents are gunning to get into as they shop for a Chicago home:
Audobon School: A neighborhood school in Roscoe Village, Audobon enrolls students from pre-kindergarten to 8th grade. It boasts state-of-the-art technology, award-winning programs in a variety of subjects and National Board-Certified teachers.
Blaine Elementary School: In Lakeview, Blaine is classified as a fine arts magnet school and was ranked one of the best schools in Chicago in Chicago Magazine. More than 90 percent of the students here meet or exceed the district average in test scores.
Alexander Graham Bell School: Another K-8 school in North Center, Bell is known for its diversity and 3 school programs within the school: a neighborhood program with standard statewide curriculum, a regional gifted program and a deaf students program all the say from Pre-K through 8th grade.
Hawthorne Scholastic Academy: This K-8 public school in Lakeview is a literature and writing magnet school known for its high ranking in the city and the state. Students are accepted here through the Chicago Public Schools magnet lottery.
John C. Coonley School: A premier school also located in North Center, Coonley serves students from preschool to 8th grade and offers gifted and talented classes and special education programs as well as standard statewide curriculum.
The Ogden International School of Chicago: This neighborhood school serves students from preschool all the way up to 12th grade. The school has an international gifted program for 6th to 8th graders as well as several baccalaureate programs.
Note that most (if not all) of these schools have an important enrollment note: they are neighborhood schools, so they enroll and teach those within the boundaries of their neighborhoods. Being in proximity in one of these schools is the way to get in. So for many parents, location is at the top of their real estate wish lists in order to enroll in the school they want for their children.
Finding a Chicago Home Near a Great School
Location near some of these schools can quickly drive up the price of Chicago real estate. But many parents are willing to pay premium dollar for a new home than the alternative for their children’s schooling: attending an extremely expensive private school. There are a number of options in terms of private schools, but the ones that are at the top are certainly very expensive—around $25,000 per year. If you consider going private all the way through high school, that can easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The cost of private school surely factors into wanting a location that’s near one of these well-ranked public schools. The Wall St. Journal recently covered this same topic, and offered a few great tips for getting in a neighborhood with a good school:

  • Know your definition of a “good school.” Is it solid test scores? An award-winning music program? What makes a school well-known for being a “great school,” may not be the same goals you have for your children.
  • Is private school an option in a more affordable neighborhood? A competitively priced private school could actually end up being the same or even less expensive than a hefty mortgage you may have to take on to get into a coveted district.
  • Are there up-and-coming areas? Communities that are growing around a school can increase property taxes and those tax receipts can flow back into the school district, allowing the neighborhood school to thrive along with a new neighborhood.

If you’re in search of a Chicago home near a great school, give me a call. I’d be happy to talk about your options and introduce you to some of the neighborhoods that these schools call home. Give me a call at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.