by Georgia Charter Schools Association
By Nina Rubin
Every day when I Google “Georgia Charter Schools,” to keep up with the charter school news, a funny thing happens. At least a dozen real estate listings come up in search, all mentioning that the home for sale is near a public charter school.
Here’s one from a few months ago:
Learn more about 1947 Bixby Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30317 and … Park with playground, and one mile to the Drew Charter School campus.
It’s long been true that the reputation of a school district can impact real estate sales and increase home values. Ask any Northeast transplant from New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts why they’ve chosen to live East Cobb or Alpharetta, and invariably the answer is, “We got a helluva house in a great public school district.”
So it’s good to hear some realtors report that high quality public charter schools are also having an effect on home sales and home valuations.
Chase Mizell, who sells real estate for Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, is seeing the charter school impact in Intown Atlanta. “The charter school in Grant Park is a big driver of home sales. Even though admission to the school is by lottery, buyers still want to make sure they’re in the attendance zone so their kids have a shot at getting into Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, as well as for potential resale. Drew Charter School has become the leading factor driving home sales and increasing property values in the East Lake area as well.”
Realtor Jon Shapiro of RE/MAX Around Atlanta sells as many homes outside the Atlanta Perimeter as inside. He agrees that charter schools are adding a new dimension to what has always been true. “Award winning schools often add value to a home. Bottom line, for real estate decisions, a school’s academic results, which are available to anyone who wants to do their homework, are a big factor.”
Drew Charter School’s impact on the East Lake neighborhood is about much more than the power of a high-achieving school. The once proud East Lake neighborhood had unique assets (a world-class golf course, for one) but had fallen into crime, disrepair, abandonment, and poverty. It took the East Lake Foundation’s plan of comprehensive community redevelopment to bring the neighborhood back to its current strength and marketability.
Nevertheless, affordable housing and excellent schools were the undeniable cornerstones of the redevelopment plan. East Lake’s mixed-rate housing options, its Boys & Girls Club, along with the opportunity for families to enroll their children in Drew Charter School, have been absolute game changers.
For families who can afford to live anywhere, high quality public schools will always be a real estate driver. But for families who rent, or might be stuck with underwater mortgages in declining neighborhoods and cannot afford to relocate, school choice offers perhaps the only way to bypass failing zoned public schools. In metro Atlanta, parents have demonstrated their sheer determination to enroll in charters, driving out of their way simply to give their children a better education.
It’s exciting to see that the presence of a good public school, whether charter or not, can help families build wealth, better prepare their children for college and careers, and transform a neighborhood. When more fluid neighborhood choices combine with expanded school choices, the possibilities are truly empowering.
Nina Rubin is Director of Communications for the Georgia Charter Schools Association