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Realtor.com: Chandler among 10 best for affordability, schools

Realtor.com, a leading provider of online real estate services operated by News Corp subsidiary Move, Inc., today released its ranking of the 10 most affordable housing markets with top elementary schools. Led by Aurora, Illinois. (60503), located outside Chicago, the list also includes towns from all over the U.S., from Royersford, Pennsylvania., to Chandler, Arizona.

To create the list, realtor.com analyzed ZIP codes within the top metropolitan areas in the country that contained at least one public or public charter school ranked eight out of 10 or higher by GreatSchools. In order, realtor.com’s top 10 most affordable towns with great elementary schools are: Aurora, Illinois; Stone Mountain, Georgia; Hampton, New Jersey; Royersford, Pennsylvania; Kingwood, Texas; Rosemount, Minnesota; Bowie, Maryland; Huntington Woods, Michigan; Stow, Massachusetts; and Chandler, Arizona.

“When searching for a new home, finding something affordable in a good school district with family-friendly features, such as large backyards, tops the list of homebuyer priorities,” said Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for realtor.com. “These markets offer strong public schools and affordable homes, making them a great fit for homebuyers with elementary school-age children.”

The monthly cost of owning a median-priced home in these top elementary markets is on average only 23 percent of the median household income in the ZIP, which is on average 41 percent less costly than its surrounding metro area. In addition to offering affordable prices, these markets are home to strong incomes as well, with an average household income of $106,525 compared to the national median of $57,462.

Realtor.com also looked into the top affordable towns for middle schools and high schools; Aurora, Illinois also topped the list for middle schools while Royersford, Pennsylvania – which made the top elementary list – was ranked No. 1 for high schools. In fact, seven of the top 10 elementary school towns also made it onto the top middle school or high school list: Aurora, Illinois (middle school); Hampton, New Jersey (middle school); Royersford, Pennsylvania (middle and high schools); Kingwood, Texas (middle school); Rosemount, Minnesota (middle and high schools); Stow, Massachusetts (middle school); and Chandler, Arizona (middle and high schools).

“Staying in your home for at least five to 10 years is one way you can ensure you receive a high return on your home investment,” added Vivas. “With strong middle and high schools, many of the markets on the list offer families the opportunity to put down roots while building equity in their home.”

In a realtor.com survey of first-time homebuyers conducted earlier this year, younger homebuyers who are more likely to have young children in the house were particularly interested in living in a good school district. In fact, millennial home shoppers, as well as shoppers ages 35 to 44, cited family needs as the primary reason for entering the housing market, and noted better school districts as a primary reason for purchasing a new home.

Realtor.com ranked ZIP codes according to affordability of homes within each area, determined by calculating the monthly mortgage costs and other costs to purchase the median-priced home in the ZIP code and dividing it by the ZIP code’s median income.

Here are Realtor.com’s Top Affordable Towns with the Best Elementary Schools:

1. Aurora, Illinois (ZIP code 60503)

Schools: Homestead Elementary School (rating 10/10), The Wheatlands Elementary School (rating 8/10), and Wolfs Crossing Elementary School (rating 10/10)

Housing in ZIP 60503: The 2017 median household income in Aurora is $114,118 with a 2017 median listing price of $259,900. Aurora is 45 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and 47 percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

Schools: Oswego Community Unit School District 308 is home to Homestead, Wheatlands, and Wolfs Crossing. As the district’s tagline, “world-class schools serving caring communities” suggests, these schools place an emphasis on partnering and engaging with students’ families and their surrounding communities. It is also home to the No. 1 middle school on the list Bednarcik Junior High School.

2. Stone Mountain, Georgia (ZIP code 30087)

School: Wynbrooke Elementary School (rating 9/10)

Housing in ZIP 30087: The 2017 median household income in Stone Mountain is $71,678 with a 2017 median listing price of $218,950. Stone Mountain is 38 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

School: Dubbing itself a “theme school,” Wynbrooke Elementary seeks to engage students through research-centered assignments and hands-on projects. Its known for its low student-to-teacher ratio, daily homework assignments, and uniform policy.

3. Hampton, New Jersey (ZIP code 08827)

School: Union Township Elementary School (rating 8/10)

Housing in ZIP 08827: The 2017 median household income in Hampton is $118,810 with a 2017 median listing price of $297,000. Hampton is 60 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and 37 percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

School: The Union Township Board of Education says it aims to build not just academic abilities, but the entire set of skills necessary to become productive members of society, by encouraging their students’ individual growth. Union Township Elementary students get to enjoy learning in the fresh air thanks to two recently built “outdoor classroom pavilions” that were constructed with the help of community members and the school’s PTA. The school is also considering changing its current half-day Kindergarten to a more rigorous all-day program.

4. Royersford, Pennsylvania (ZIP code 19468)

Schools: Brooke Elementary School (rating 9/10), Evans Elementary School (rating 8/10), Limerick Elementary School (rating 9/10), Spring-Ford Intrmd School 5th/6th (rating 9/10), and Upper Providence Elementary School (rating 9/10)

Housing in ZIP 19468: The 2017 median household income in Royersford is $83,264 with a 2017 median listing price of $246,125. Royersford is 21 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and 32 percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

Schools: Brooke, Limerick, Spring-Ford and Upper Providence are all located in the Spring-Ford Area School District which places an emphasis on making school fun. It operates under the philosophy that elementary school students “should enjoy coming to school” and that creating an enjoyable environment is the best way to help students reach their full potential. 

5. Kingwood, Texas (ZIP code 77345)

Schools: Deerwood Elementary School (rating 9/10), Greentree Elementary School (rating 10/10), Hidden Hollow Elementary (9/10), Shadow Forest Elementary School (rating 10/10), and Willow Creek Elementary School (rating 10/10).

Housing in ZIP 77345: The 2017 median household income in Kingwood is $123,201 with a 2017 median listing price of $323,750. Kingwood is 46 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and 32 percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

Schools: The Humble Independent School District, home to Deerwood, Greentree, Hidden Hollow, Shadow Forest, and Willow Creek, is one of Texas’ 25 fastest-growing districts. It aims to create students who are “life-long learners, complex thinkers, responsible global citizens and effective communicators.”

6. Rosemount, Minnesota (ZIP code 55068)

School: Shannon Park Elementary School (rating 10/10)

Housing in ZIP 55068: The 2017 median household income in Rosemount is $93,743 with a 2017 median listing price of $299,900. Rosemount is 30 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and 32 percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

School: Known for its academics and extracurriculars, Shannon Park students have a chance to take part in a plethora of activities, including a geography bee, math olympiad, young Authors Conference and family math night.

7. Bowie, Maryland (ZIP code 20715)

Schools: Whitehall Elementary School (rating 8/10) and Yorktown Elementary School (rating 8/10)

Housing in ZIP 20715: The 2017 median household income in Bowie is $107,865 with a 2017 median listing price of $345,350. Bowie is 29 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and 27 percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

Schools: Located just minutes away from Washington, D.C., Prince George’s County Public Schools is one of the nation’s 25 largest school districts. Whitehall and Yorktown are known for their academic rigor, which is demonstrated by their mission statements “to educate children beyond expectations” and “a rigorous instructional program for every student, in every classroom every day,” respectively.

8. Huntington Woods, Michigan (ZIP code 48070)

School: Burton Elementary School (rating 8/10)

Housing in ZIP 48070: The 2017 median household income in Huntington Woods is $120,265 with a 2017 median listing price of $400,000. Huntington Woods is 15 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and 27 percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

School: Burton Elementary school prides itself on its comprehensive and innovative curricula, making parents part of the education process and integrating technology into every subject. The 480 students who attend the K-5 elementary school, also benefit from “differentiated instruction” –  programs that help enable the school to cater to all learning types.  

9. Stow, Massachusetts (ZIP code 01775)

School: Center School (rating 8/10)

Housing in ZIP 01775: The 2017 median household income in Stow is $139,622 with a 2017 median listing price of $504,750. Stow is 45 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and 23 percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

School: At Center School, educators use high expectations and cutting edge educational practices to drive students toward academic achievement. Its home to a state of the art 100,000-square-foot building equipped with iPads, Chromebooks and smartboards that give students hands-on technology experience.

10. Chandler, Arizona (85226) – Kyrene Elementary District and Paragon Education Corporation

Schools: Kyrene De La Mirada School (rating 9/10), Kyrene De La Paloma School (rating 8/10), Kyrene De Las Brisas School (rating 9/10), Kyrene del Cielo School (rating 10/10), Kyrene Traditional – Sureno Campus (rating 9/10), and Paragon Science Academy K-12 (rating 9/10).

Housing in ZIP 85226: The 2017 median household income in Chandler is $80,130 with a 2017 median listing price of $324,155. Chandler is 30 percent more affordable than its surrounding metro area, and 20 percent more affordable than the U.S. overall.

School: In Arizona, students can attend any school within or outside their own districts. Kyrene and Paragon seek to attract top students with strong academics, small class sizes, lots of activities – such as technology and art – and the opportunity to use laptops every day.

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