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Top school districts to purchase an affordable home
A look at America's best school districts with the least expensive homes.
When settling down and starting a family, one of the major questions people ask themselves before buying a home is, “How are the schools in the area?” For many, this consideration is just as important as the home and its price.
To help navigate the murky waters between finding a good school district and finding a home for the right price, Finder analyzed 13,506 school districts and filtered those rated the top score of “A+” on Niche.com’s list of the 2021 Best School Districts in America.
Where are the best school districts?
The Northeast is home to the majority of excellent school districts, with 183 of the top 360 (50.83%) top-rated school districts being located there. Interestingly, the further west you head, the fewer good school districts. The Midwest is home to 90 of the top-rated (25%) schools, the South has 48 (13.33%) and the West holds just 39 (10.83%) of the best school districts.
Where are the best school districts in the most affordable areas?
While the Northeast takes the podium for its overall number of excellent school districts, the South takes home the gold in terms of affordability — a whopping 9 out of the top 10 school districts are located there.
Specifically, three of the best school districts in the nation are located in Alabama, two in Kentucky and one each in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and South Carolina. The non-Southern school district can be found in New York.
At the other end of the spectrum comes the West, which is home to all of the most expensive school districts to buy a home. In fact, California is home to 9 out of the 10 most expensive school districts to buy a home, with Colorado being home to the other.
The top 10 best and most affordable school districts
1. Greeneville City School District — Greenville, TN
- Greeneville City School District in Greeneville, TN serves 2,908 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $128,100, or 3.73 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $34,307 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $1,129.
2. Saraland City School District — Saraland, AL
- Saraland City School District in Saraland, AL serves 3,114 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $138,800, or 2.21 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $62,776 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $709.
3. Murray Independent School District — Murray, KY
- Murray Independent School District in Murray, KY serves 1,736 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $141,216, or 3.52 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $40,119 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $1,271.
4. Muscle Shoals City School District — Muscle Shoals, AL
- Muscle Shoals City School District in Muscle Shoals, AL serves 2,812 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $143,100, or 2.55 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $56,210 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $542.
5. Greenwood School District — Greenwood, AR
- Greenwood School District in Greenwood, AR serves 3,858 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $149,800, or 2.52 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $59,472 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $1,017.
6. Petal School District — Petal, MS
- Petal School District in Petal, MS serves 4,137 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $150,500, or 2.62 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $57,436 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $1,305.
7. Boyle County School District — Danville, KY
- Boyle County School District in Danville, KY serves 2,736 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $150,600, or 2.82 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $53,376 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $1,247.
8. Hartselle City School District — Hartselle, AL
- Hartselle City School District in Hartselle, AL serves 3,469 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $156,933, or 2.65 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $59,309 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $512.
9. New Hartford Central School District — New Hartford, NY
- New Hartford Central School District in New Hartford, NY serves 2,586 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $171,200, or 2.28 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $75,102 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $4,105.
10. Lexington School District 5 — Irmo, SC
- Lexington School District 5 in Irmo, SC serves 17,409 students.
- The average housing costs in the district are $184,594, or 2.49 times the annual household income in the district.
- The median annual household income in the district is $74,065 and the average annual real estate tax paid in the district is $1,129.
Top 10 most affordable school districts
|NCES District ID||Rank||School district||Location||Number of students||Median annual household income||Real estate taxes paid||Housing value (max between Census and ZHVI)|
|4701500||1||Greeneville City School District||Greeneville, TN||2908||$34,307||$1,129||$128,100|
|0100185||2||Saraland City School District||Saraland, AL||3114||$62,776||$709||$138,800|
|2104380||3||Murray Independent School District||Murray, KY||1736||$40,119||$1,271||$141,216|
|0102520||4||Muscle Shoals City School District||Muscle Shoals, AL||2812||$56,210||$542||$143,100|
|0506990||5||Greenwood School District||Greenwood, AR||3858||$59,472||$1,017||$149,800|
|2803530||6||Petal School District||Petal, MS||4137||$57,436||$1,305||$150,500|
|2100630||7||Boyle County School District||Danville, KY||2736||$53,376||$1,247||$150,600|
|0101730||8||Hartselle City School District||Hartselle, AL||3469||$59,309||$512||$156,933|
|3620370||9||New Hartford Central School District||New Hartford, NY||2586||$75,102||$4,105||$171,200|
|4502820||10||Lexington School District 5||Irmo, SC||17409||$74,065||$1,129||$184,594|
2020 list of best school districts ranked by housing price
Here’s the complete list of cities included in the study. Use the search below to find your school district.
|Rank||School district||Location||Number of students||Median annual household income||Real estate taxes paid||Housing value (max between Census and ZHVI)|
|1||Greeneville City School District||Greeneville, TN||2908||$34,307||1,129||$128,100|
|2||Saraland City School District||Saraland, AL||3114||$62,776||709||$138,800|
|3||Murray Independent School District||Murray, KY||1736||$40,119||1,271||$141,216|
|4||Muscle Shoals City School District||Muscle Shoals, AL||2812||$56,210||542||$143,100|
|5||Greenwood School District||Greenwood, AR||3858||$59,472||1,017||$149,800|
|6||Petal School District||Petal, MS||4137||$57,436||1,305||$150,500|
|7||Boyle County School District||Danville, KY||2736||$53,376||1,247||$150,600|
|8||Hartselle City School District||Hartselle, AL||3469||$59,309||512||$156,933|
|9||New Hartford Central School District||New Hartford, NY||2586||$75,102||4,105||$171,200|
|10||Lexington School District 5||Irmo, SC||17409||$74,065||1,129||$184,594|
|11||MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District||Orange City, IA||1533||$68,654||1,559||$185,521|
|12||Kimberly Area School District||Combined Locks, WI||5190||$74,712||3,492||$188,900|
|13||Jackson Local School District||Massillon, OH||5889||$74,433||3,205||$193,300|
|14||Brighton Central School District||Rochester, NY||3657||$81,012||6,354||$194,594|
|15||St. Joseph Public Schools||Saint Joseph, MI||3002||$69,478||2,780||$195,200|
|16||Midway Independent School District (McLennan County)||Woodway, TX||8302||$72,085||3,674||$207,408|
|17||Jamesville-DeWitt Central School District||Dewitt, NY||2739||$84,411||5,993||$207,500|
|18||Minster Local School District||Minster, OH||846||$78,370||2,171||$207,595|
|19||Northwest Allen County Schools||Fort Wayne, IN||7722||$87,418||1,808||$207,698|
|20||Plainfield Community School Corporation||Plainfield, IN||5715||$64,650||1,473||$208,864|
|21||Blue Springs R-IV School District||Blue Springs, MO||14533||$74,146||2,571||$209,273|
|22||Penfield Central School District||Penfield, NY||4609||$80,157||5,995||$209,437|
|23||Fairview School District||Fairview, PA||1750||$95,111||3,791||$210,600|
|24||Lewisburg Area School District||Lewisburg, PA||1991||$60,006||3,532||$212,500|
|25||Southwest Allen County Metropolitan School District||Fort Wayne, IN||7471||$85,596||1,861||$212,623|
|26||Zachary Community School District||Zachary, LA||5551||$74,513||1,478||$217,800|
|27||Wall Independent School District||Wall, TX||1179||$74,432||2,304||$217,926|
|28||Maryville City School District||Maryville, TN||5364||$59,245||2,024||$218,549|
|29||Centerville City School District||Centerville, OH||8364||$81,244||4,689||$223,796|
|30||Perrysburg Exempted Village School District||Perrysburg, OH||5411||$90,906||3,806||$224,772|
|31||Anthony Wayne Local School District||Whitehouse, OH||4282||$86,863||3,805||$227,200|
|32||Fort Thomas Independent School District||Fort Thomas, KY||3129||$81,206||3,102||$229,100|
|33||Bentonville Public Schools||Bentonville, AR||17225||$78,286||1,568||$229,174|
|34||Kohler School District||Kohler, WI||703||$86,786||4,196||$229,400|
|35||Okemos Public Schools||Okemos, MI||4546||$82,418||4,714||$229,600|
|36||College Station Independent School District||College Station, TX||13540||$45,058||4,430||$231,100|
|37||Brownsburg Community School Corporation||Brownsburg, IN||9296||$84,454||1,881||$233,572|
|38||Jenks Public Schools||Jenks, OK||12465||$73,202||2,903||$233,900|
|39||Munster School Town||Munster, IN||4133||$81,234||2,995||$234,233|
|40||Oakwood City School District||Dayton, OH||2056||$102,159||6,317||$239,600|
|41||Trussville City School District||Trussville, AL||4693||$88,504||1,299||$241,500|
|42||Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District||Manlius, NY||4226||$96,930||7,741||$241,895|
|43||West Lafayette Community School Corporation||West Lafayette, IN||2411||$32,162||2,141||$242,738|
|44||South Fayette Township School District||Mcdonald, PA||3368||$83,267||5,908||$242,992|
|45||Rocky River City School District||Rocky River, OH||2718||$68,260||5,189||$243,946|
|46||Manheim Township School District||Lancaster, PA||5786||$76,540||3,814||$244,752|
|47||Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District||Burnt Hills, NY||3087||$90,617||4,971||$245,172|
|48||Lansing Central School District||Lansing, NY||1181||$77,892||5,356||$246,936|
|49||Greendale School District||Greendale, WI||2698||$71,358||5,240||$247,431|
|50||Auburn City School District||Auburn, AL||8738||$44,654||1,218||$251,000|
|51||Dunlap Community Unit School District 323||Peoria, IL||4492||$94,338||6,176||$252,500|
|51||Mt. Lebanon School District||Pittsburgh, PA||5521||$95,151||6,272||$252,500|
|53||Derry Township School District||Hershey, PA||3492||$76,330||4,095||$256,045|
|54||Slinger School District||Slinger, WI||3368||$81,197||3,501||$256,800|
|55||Beechwood Independent School District||Fort Mitchell, KY||1423||$88,544||3,125||$257,400|
|56||Fairport Central School District||Fairport, NY||5836||$82,594||6,093||$259,974|
|57||Madison City School District||Madison, AL||11290||$89,522||1,330||$260,269|
|58||Williamsville Central School District||East Amherst, NY||9950||$87,648||5,812||$260,298|
|59||Parkland School District||Allentown, PA||9514||$84,646||4,286||$265,400|
|60||Pewaukee School District||Pewaukee, WI||2995||$78,125||4,091||$269,200|
|61||Niskayuna Central School District||Schenectady, NY||4274||$115,900||7,089||$271,000|
|62||Spackenkill Union Free School District||Poughkeepsie, NY||1526||$86,250||7,132||$274,725|
|63||Pittsford Central School District||Pittsford, NY||5738||$120,465||8,455||$277,000|
|64||Bethlehem Central School District||Delmar, NY||4478||$106,263||6,527||$277,100|
|65||Grosse Pointe Public Schools||Grosse Pointe, MI||7630||$101,485||5,841||$277,800|
|66||Aurora City School District||Aurora, OH||2987||$95,044||3,986||$279,636|
|67||Pleasant Valley Community School District||Bettendorf, IA||5084||$92,671||4,179||$280,100|
|68||Buford City School District||Buford, GA||4966||$52,149||1,489||$280,807|
|69||East Aurora Union Free School District||East Aurora, NY||1817||$77,377||5,035||$281,174|
|70||Fox Chapel Area School District||Pittsburgh, PA||4016||$85,253||4,763||$281,610|
|71||Tomball Independent School District||Tomball, TX||16962||$102,184||5,672||$282,630|
|72||Madeira City School District||Cincinnati, OH||1516||$113,342||5,578||$282,900|
|73||Skaneateles Central School District||Skaneateles, NY||1337||$92,900||5,715||$283,500|
|74||Gilbert Community School District||Gilbert, IA||1574||$99,803||4,884||$283,700|
|75||Clarence Central School District||Clarence, NY||4371||$93,423||5,262||$283,826|
|76||State College Area School District||State College, PA||6888||$56,996||3,614||$284,410|
|77||Bay Village City School District||Bay Village, OH||2502||$102,917||5,710||$286,569|
|78||Hampton Township School District||Allison Park, PA||2798||$85,364||4,401||$287,087|
|79||Quaker Valley School District||Leetsdale, PA||1935||$84,345||5,457||$290,600|
|80||Beachwood City School District||Beachwood, OH||1615||$89,706||5,568||$296,600|
|81||Hamilton Southeastern Schools||Fishers, IN||21599||$99,477||2,333||$297,629|
|82||Hoover City School District||Hoover, AL||13952||$83,942||1,815||$298,181|
|83||Kenston Local School District||Chagrin Falls, OH||2659||$117,909||5,618||$298,600|
|84||Ottawa Hills Local School District||Toledo, OH||973||$134,191||8,031||$300,800|
|85||Forest Hills Public Schools||Grand Rapids, MI||9772||$104,785||4,113||$301,400|
|86||Granville Exempted Village School District||Granville, OH||2501||$110,261||5,564||$303,100|
|87||Cedarburg School District||Cedarburg, WI||3122||$90,315||4,738||$306,800|
|88||Mason City School District||Mason, OH||10421||$103,381||4,487||$307,613|
|89||Elmbrook School District||Brookfield, WI||7334||$103,597||4,805||$308,000|
|90||Spring-Ford Area School District||Royersford, PA||7954||$95,173||4,547||$309,978|
|91||De Soto Unified School District 232||De Soto, KS||7422||$113,661||3,853||$310,408|
|92||Friendswood Independent School District||Friendswood, TX||6070||$124,400||5,883||$312,600|
|93||Muskego-Norway School District||Muskego, WI||4850||$89,956||4,202||$313,127|
|94||Elkhorn Public Schools||Elkhorn, NE||9857||$107,076||6,558||$313,508|
|95||Wyoming City School District||Wyoming, OH||2000||$121,185||5,978||$314,200|
|96||Rockwood R-VI School District||Eureka, MO||21130||$108,133||4,172||$314,400|
|97||Sycamore Community City School District||Blue Ash, OH||5498||$92,676||4,544||$315,000|
|98||Upper Saint Clair School District||Pittsburgh, PA||4055||$125,305||6,736||$315,336|
|99||Dublin City School District||Dublin, OH||16379||$93,814||6,647||$320,869|
|100||Rochester Community School District||Rochester, MI||15434||$99,903||4,133||$320,900|
To determine which school districts were the best, we looked at which school districts were rated the top score of “A+” on Niche.com’s list of the 2021 Best School Districts in America. For each of those top-rated school districts, we looked at median annual household income, average real estate taxes paid, and the median income housing prices in the district to determine which of the best school districts were most affordable.
Median house price data was sourced from Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) by Zillow where Geography = “Zip Code” for all homes (seasonally adjusted) as of September 30, 2002.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)’s School District Geographic Relationship Files were used to determine which zip codes corresponded with each school district.
House prices by school district was calculated using the ZHVI prices by zip code, weighed by the number of housing units in each zip according to the 2018 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data, making sure that the housing prices were at least the median value of owner-occupied housing by school district.
Real estate tax, median household income, and the median value of owner-occupied housing by school district was sourced from the 2018 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data. Some school districts that were rated “A+” in Niche’s ranking but did not have available data in the ACS were excluded from our analysis.
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