Educational opportunities are always top of mind for homebuyers who have or are planning for children, and it’s one of the many reasons that families from across the globe find Northern California an appealing place to put down roots. In fact, the region has a higher percentage of top-tier public high schools than any other major metro area in the U.S., according to rankings from educational content provider Niche.com
Of the 50 top-performing public high schools in the U.S. for academics, 12 are located right here in Northern California, the most of any metro area in the country. Three local public high schools cracked the top 10 for highest-achieving students. Niche.com rates schools on a number of criteria, including students’ test scores, college plans, and reading and math skills.
We took a look at MLS data for single-family home sales in the ZIP codes in which these dozen schools are located, and it appears that while access to a top public high school doesn’t come cheap, annual home prices in the such areas are growing — in some cases by a lot.
As of March, the median sales price was more than $1 million in all but one of these 12 ZIP codes, and prices rose from a year ago in all but one of them. In ZIP codes that claim the top four public high schools in the state – all in Santa Clara County – prices have appreciated by more than 20 percent since last year.
Here’s an overview of Northern California’s top-ranked public high schools on Niche.com’s Best Academics list, as well as annual home prices and their fluctuations:
Campolindo High School, Moraga (No. 48): Campolindo High School students average SAT scores of 1,960, with more than 90 percent proficient at both math and reading. As of March, the median sales price for a single-family home in Moraga‘s 94556 ZIP code was $1.25 million, up 4 percent from a year ago.
Doughtery Valley High School, San Ramon (No. 44): Pupils at this San Ramon school notched average SAT scores of 1,980 and math and reading proficiency rates in excess of 90 percent. Home prices in the 94582 ZIP code inched up 0.6 percent year over year to finish March at $1.07 million.
Los Altos High School, Los Altos (No. 43): Los Altos High School students have average SAT scores of 1,990 and tend to prefer top-ranked Southern California colleges such as UCLA. The $3.26 million median sales price for a home in the 94022 ZIP code was up 15 percent from March 2014.
Redwood High School, Larkspur (No. 31): Ninety-two percent of students at this Marin County school are proficient in math, and the average SAT score is 1,910. Homebuyers who bought a home in the 94939 ZIP code in March paid $1.81 million, 23 percent more than they did a year ago.
Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto (No. 26): Both high schools operated by the Palo Alto Unified School District were among the nation’s 50 best for academics, with pupils at this school notching SAT scores of 2,040. The 94301 ZIP code was the only one of the dozen where home prices fell from last March, down by 21.5 percent but still a hefty $2.67 million.
Miramonte High School, Orinda (No. 21): More than 90 percent of students at this Orinda school are considered proficient at math and reading, with the average SAT score coming in at 2,010. In March, the median sales price in the 94563 ZIP code was $1.31 million, up 17 percent on an annual basis.
Pacific Collegiate Charter School, Santa Cruz (No. 19): This public charter school has just 480 students in grades seven through twelve and an average SAT score of 1,930. Located on the west side of Santa Cruz, the 95060 ZIP code was the only one on this list that had a March median sales price of less than $1 million ($860,000). Still, the median was up by double-digit percentages year over year, rising by 20 percent.
Mission San Jose High School, Fremont (No. 18): Students at Fremont’s Mission San Jose High School have average SAT scores of 2,120 and math and reading proficiency levels in excess of 95 percent. The median sales price for a home in the 94539 ZIP code was $1.23 million, a 5 percent gain from March 2014.
Monta Vista High School, Cupertino (tied for No. 12): The Golden State’s top four public high schools are all located in Santa Clara County, including Cupertino’s Monta Vista, where the average student scored 2,110 on the SAT. March’s median sales price of $1.97 million was up by 22 percent from last year in ZIP code 94015.
Saratoga High School, Saratoga (No. 10): Alma mater of director Steven Spielberg and one of the top 10 public high schools in the U.S., Saratoga High School pupils have average SAT scores of 2,090. The median sales price for a home in the city’s 95070 ZIP was $2.4 million in March, a year-over-year gain of 20.5 percent.
Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto (No. 8): At Palo Alto‘s Henry M. Gunn High School, California’s second-highest-ranked school for academics, the average SAT score is 2,070. Homebuyers in the 94306 ZIP code shelled out $2.72 million in March, up 24 percent from a year ago.
Lynbrook High School, San Jose (No. 7): Niche ranks Lynbrook as the best-performing public high school in California, with average SAT scores of 2,120. Homes in the West San Jose neighborhood (ZIP code 95129) appreciated more on an annual basis than those in any other community on this list, rising to $1.63 million in March, a 26 percent increase.
(Photo: Flickr/Leslie Johnson)