The search for a new home can be somewhat different when the criteria include finding a home in a community with good schools. When searching for a new home, parents should always keep in mind that one of the most important decisions a parent will ever make is selecting a great school, which is the right fit for your child. However, rising property values in the Greater Toronto Area make the search for an affordable property in a good school district daunting, at best.
As a parent, potential buyers make many sacrifices relating to price, aesthetics and amenities to make sure their children attend the best schools. In a survey conducted by Realtor.com in 2013, the results revealed that 60% of buyers consider school districts when looking for a new home. More than 80% of that group also considered access to their school of choice to be "important" or "somewhat important." The overwhelming common factor is clear; parents want choices when it comes to their children's education.
The Fraser Institute’s Report Card on Ontario’s Secondary Schools 2015, a leader in ranking public realm organizations and institutions in Canada, ranked 749 public and Catholic schools (and a few private schools) based on seven academic indicators provided though province wide test results. The results revealed a distinct pattern with a 17-way tie for first place. Of those 17 schools, six were located in Toronto with half located in one pocket in North York. The top three were Hillmount, Arbor Glen and Seneca Hill. All three are public schools located within about two kilometres of each other between Steeles and Finch avenues, just west of the 404.
The other top performing schools are a private school, Sathya Sai School, only a few kilometres away, at Warden Avenue and Ellesmere Road. The other two; Cottingham Junior Public School and St. Michael’s Choir, a Catholic school, are both situated closer to the downtown core.
It may surprise many future buyers that the area with the top school rankings are not particularly expensive when you consider the consistently increasing home prices the GTA is currently experiencing. Recent Toronto Real Estate Board data puts the average home price in Hillcrest Village at $541,194, while nearby Pleasant View comes in at $459,740.
Overall a strong school system typically means a strong community, consisting of families that take pride in their home and are actively involved in their community. So even if you don’t have children yet, consider adding school rankings to your criteria when buying your next home.