After taking the summer off from posting, I think that now is an apt time to write about school systems and their effect on the housing market.
When the vast majority of families are searching for a new home, one of the first criteria that is mentioned is the school system. We want our children to be in an environment that is supportive of their needs and develops their skills as problem solvers. We also want to an area that "has a good reputation" and "easy resale." Inevitably, this is almost always linked back to the schools.
Schools have the ability to raise the value of a neighborhood unlike anything else. With strong schools come parents who value education. These parents are typically more stable in both their employment and housing. With lower turnover in the market, demand increases. Forest Hills is a fantastic example of this. The neighborhood is relatively small, features established, pre-WWII homes, mature trees, and large lots. It also has access to several strong schools including both private and public options. There never seems to be more than 1-2 homes available in the area at any given time, and as a result, demand is extremely high. Without access to these schools, the market for Forest Hills would be diminished as raising a family would not be feasible.
Starting to ramble...
Here is my point. When you are looking for your next home, please do your research on the schools in the area. Check the Department of Ed's website and review their test scores, high school and elementary school. Look at the trends over the last 5, 10, 15 years. As important as it is to make sure that you have 4 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, and a chef's kitchen, I would posit that it is just as important to have a school system you can be proud of (I hope you can appreciate that joke: talking about strong schools and then ending my last sentence with a preposition.)