Some families choose a home by choosing a school system. Hence the enduring appeal of small, shabby condos in Brookline. Other families don't care about the public school system. Hence the enduring appeal of Back Bay townhouses. But what about value shoppers, families that want an excellent school system in a town with modest home prices?
The answer is Swampscott, according to the real estate Web site Trulia. It says the North Shore town has the lowest median home price among Boston-area towns with the highest-quality elementary schools.
Trulia researchers looked at Boston-area school systems that got the best elementary-school grades from GreatSchools, an online ranking service. Then it ranked those systems by the median price of single-family listings in the towns they serve. Swampscott finished first, with a median listing price of $459,000. That's about it for real value. Next were Sudbury, at $729,450, and Hingham, at $749,950.
Trulia says it also found that towns with good schools have seen smaller declines in home prices during the current downturn.
Trulia, which aggregates real estate listings, now includes a variety of educational information for each listing, including the GreatSchools score for nearby public schools. (The information is based on proximity, and therefore may not show the school a student will actually attend.)
Unfortunately, you can't use the company's Web site to replicate its research by searching a region for the best educational values, but company executives told me yesterday they may add that kind of tool in the next few weeks.
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