Wife and I are about ready to pull the trigger on a home in the South Bay Area. In the area we're looking, SFH's in neighborhoods with the best schools (9's or 10's) average in the ~$1.6M range, while a couple of miles away, neighborhoods with average schools (5's or 6's) are selling in the ~$1.2M range. Kindergarten for a hypothetical kid #1 is about 7 years away.
Prices are way up in the average neighborhoods so that it's about twice as expensive as five years ago to purchase there. Is there precedent to think that in 7 years the schools could be substantially better due to the kinds of people who can now afford the neighborhood? I can think of counter-arguments, such as good teachers no longer being able to afford to live within commuting distance, or simply that prices crash. Right now, even though we highly value education, we're thinking about buying in the average school neighborhood and then just sucking it up and paying for private school if nothing changes with the schools.
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