How Important Are Schools When Buying A Home?

Choosing a house or neighbourhood to call home is an important decision and there are a number of factors to consider. As neighbourhood experts, we pride ourselves in providing professional advice on a home’s true potential, we offer neighbourhood tours from a real local’s perspective, and give you guidance that is customized to your specific needs.  One major factor for consideration with any property is the school that a home’s address feeds into. Even if you do not have school aged children that will be attending the schools, the boundaries can have a significant impact on sale prices today and in the future.  Let’s dig a little deeper to understand how important schools are to real estate.

In Toronto, the geographical boundaries of school areas are known as “catchments”.  The best way to determine the school catchment for a specific address is to enter the street name into the “Find My School” application on the TDSB or TCDSB website.  This will then show the elementary, middle, secondary and technical school options.

When in doubt, a call to the TDSB or even the office the school is a good way to gain a deeper understanding.  In some cases the elementary school can feed into two different high schools. One for students studying English and another for students taking French Immersion. This will not always be shown on the TDSB website.

There are several factors to consider when looking at schools such as the number of students, boundaries, and whether the schools offers English only, dual track with French Immersion or extended French.  The latter of which starts in grade four with half of the day taught in French.

Most French immersion schools in Toronto award placement in the program based on a lottery system. So even if you live in the catchment you are not guaranteed a spot in the French program at your feeder school.  The TDSB will always offer your child a spot in French Immersion; it would just be at a school in another area.

Last but not least is the schools EQAO score and ranking.  The Fraser Institute is a third party organization that compiles data and compares schools. They provide a score out of ten and a ranking out of the 3046 elementary schools in and 747 high schools in Ontario.  Although the relevance of the Fraser Institute rankings are often debated, many buyers put a lot of value on this when they are choosing schools.  Home buyers will still look at the list so it plays a role in the home values of certain catchments.

If you are house shopping in a new neighborhood, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Ensure the comparable sales you are using to determine the price you will offer are from within the same catchment. This is why it is so imperative to work with a local agent who knows the schools and boundaries well.

The members of the Red Square Team have experience living and working across the city of Toronto. If you have questions or would like more information on school catchments and how they affect home values please contact us, we would be happy to meet for a coffee! Contact us at team@redsquareteam.com

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