Want a Toronto home near a top-rated school? Prepare to pay for it

But the developers of a new tool makes the search a little easier – and they claim there are even a few deals to be found

School districts can be one of the most important considerations for families when hunting for a new house. But there’s a price tag to live in districts with top schools. The average three-bedroom home in Etobicoke for the first half of 2017 was $1,125,790, but families who wanted to send their children to Lambton Kingsway Junior Middle School – the top-rated elementary school in the former municipality according to the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) – had to pay closer to $1,947,370.

Scholarhood.ca, founded by Lauren Haw and built with the help of Kurtis Elliott, was the first Canadian website to offer listings by school boundary. They acquired Zoocasa, a house-hunting website, and added a tool so parents have a clear way to search by district, something that wasn’t readily available.

“There are currently limited resources available online that will help parents looking for information about schools and boundaries,” says Elliott. “We’ve collected and converted all the available boundary information for the 3,825 elementary schools, 912 secondary schools and 83 school boards across Ontario.”

In addition to providing information like current and five-year historical EQAO and Fraser Institute ranking data for each individual school, they also allow include the average ranking for school boards. The tool also lets users filter for elementary vs. secondary and for French and Catholic schools.

The team says there are about 100,000 monthly searches related to schools and rankings of specific schools – a clear indication of the information’s desirability.

Interestingly, you can also more easily find a school district deal. A three-bedroom home within the top-rated areas in East and North York was less expensive for the first half of this year, Haw says. Three-bedroom homes near Victor Elementary in Scarborough were an average of $263,248 less than the rest of East York they were $386,829 less in the Hillmount P.S. district near Finch and Don Mills.

“That’s why this information is so valuable in a home search there are affordable homes in great school districts,” says Haw. “Now that information is available.”

The boundaries for school zones can often be misleading, since certain homes across the street from each other can be in different school zones. By plotting all Ontario schools on a map, Zoocasa allows users to filter schools by ratings, find properties for sale within the boundaries and even submit a request to see them.

“We want to empower our users and clients with as much information as possible to help them make the best decisions for their families: neighbourhoods, schools and property valuations.”

website@nowtoronto.com | @lucymazzucco

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