HomeCity Government NewsStudy Confirms Premium Prices for SMUSD’s Homes

Study Confirms Premium Prices for SMUSD’s Homes

San Marino is an expensive place to buy a home, but for good reason.

The San Marino Unified School District has been tops in California for the past 14 years, according to annual standardized test score results.

And it’s the second most boring small town in America, a title it received earlier this year from “infotainment” companies HomeSnacks and AreaVibes.

Put all that together and the SMUSD comes in at 9th place nationally in a realtor.com study that ranks top-rated school districts with the highest home price premium.

Though realtor.com didn’t draw from the above mentioned sources, the real estate website’s study found that homes in the San Marino Unified School District sell for 469% above the median home price in Los Angeles County.

With the median list price in Los Angeles County at $550,000, that checks out to a median list price of $2,580,000 within the boundaries SMUSD.

“This school district-to-county price differential was among the largest in the nation,” Mary-Kate Morrow, of realtor.com, said.

San Marino School Board President Nam Jack confirmed the relationship.

“There is a direct correlation between the quality of schools and a community’s property values,” said Jack. “Good schools increase house prices. Home buyers greatly value education, so a high achieving school district is a significant factor of considerable influence.”

Mary Haltom, a local realtor, has seen this disparity during her long career.

“Many years ago, in the late 80’s, prices were naturally lower then they are today,” Haltom explained. “We listed a home on an exclusive street that is partially in Pasadena and partially in San Marino. Houses that were nearly identical were located next to each other, one in San Marino, one in Pasadena. The one in San Marino sold for $200,000 more than the house in Pasadena. At that time this was a substantial amount. Today, the gap would be even greater due to the San Marino School District. Probably as much as $800,000 or $900,000.”

According to the study, realtor.com used a methodology that “aggregated key price, demand and supply metrics for all homes listed during the first half of 2016, and compared properties located in school districts rated nine or 10 on the GreatSchools.org 10-point scale against all other homes, as well as homes in lower rated districts.”

Los Angeles County had three districts among the top 10. Beverly Hills Unified won the top spot in the study at 668% above the Los Angeles County median list price average, while Manhattan Beach Unified ranked sixth at 520% of the county median.

Taken together, the study concludes, the top 20 school districts in the country have a combined median list price of $1.77 million, two-and-a-half times more views on realtor.com and spend median of 33 days on the market.

“In San Marino, we are not only blessed to live in a safe city with beautiful homes on tree-lined streets with sidewalks, but home buyers have the opportunity to educate their children in the top performing school in the state,” Jack continued. “After all, we are the #1 unified school district in California!”


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