Which U.S. towns have the best elementary schools?

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A new analysis by Realtor.com names top 10 affordable towns with great schools

Staying in the same school district while your child is young not only enables them to grow up surrounded by the same group of friends, it can help ensure you receive a high return on your home investment.

But deciding where to put down roots can be difficult for first-time homebuyers, who might not be sure which school to enroll their child in.

To help parents narrow down their search for the perfect school, Realtor.com did a little research to find out which public schools rank among the best in the nation.

Top 10 elementary schools

To come up with its ranking, the online real estate website analyzed ZIP codes within the top metropolitan areas in the country which contained at least one public school ranked eight out of 10 or higher by school ratings website GreatSchools.

The top 10 most affordable towns with great elementary schools were as follows:

  • Aurora, Illinois: Homestead Elementary School, the Wheatlands Elementary School, and Wolfs Crossing Elementary School.
  • Stone Mountain, Georgia: Wynbrooke Elementary School.
  • Hampton, New Jersey: Union Township Elementary School.
  • Royersford, Pennsylvania: Brooke Elementary School, Evans Elementary School, Limerick Elementary School, Upper Providence Elementary School.
  • Kingwood, Texas: Deerwood Elementary School, Greentree Elementary School, Hidden Hollow Elementary, Shadow Forest Elementary School, Willow Creek Elementary School.
  • Rosemount, Minn: Shannon Park Elementary School.
  • Bowie, Maryland: Whitehall Elementary School, Yorktown Elementary School.
  • Huntington Woods, Michigan: Burton Elementary School.
  • Stow, Massachussettes: Center School. 
  • Chandler, Arizona: Kyrene De La Mirada School, Kyrene De La Paloma School, Kyrene De Las Brisas School, Kyrene del Cielo School, Paragon Science Academy.

Key motivator

A previous study by Realtor.com found that living in a good school district is important to many first-time homebuyers.

Family needs were cited as a key motivator to enter the housing market by Millennial home shoppers, as well as those age 35-44. The desire to live in a better school district was found to be a primary reason for purchasing a new home.

"When searching for a new home, finding something affordable in a good school district with family-friendly features, such as large backyards, tops the list of homebuyer priorities," said Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for realtor.com.

Potential to build equity

The aforementioned markets offer strong public schools and affordable homes, says Vivas, “making them a great fit for homebuyers with elementary school-age children.”

Purchasing a home in a great school district can also make you more likely to stay put, which could lead to a better return on investment when you do decide to sell.

"Staying in your home for at least five to 10 years is one way you can ensure you receive a high return on your home investment," added Vivas. "With strong middle and high schools many of the markets on the list offer families the opportunity to put down roots while building equity in their home."

For families with older children, Realtor.com also ranked affordable towns with the best middle and high schools. Those rankings can be viewed here.

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