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Part 1: Understanding School Catchment Areas

(Detail of elementary school catchment map for center city Philadelphia.)

(Detail of elementary school catchment map for center city Philadelphia.)

Hadas Kuznits Hadas Kuznits
Hadas Kuznits has been as a news writer/reporter for KYW Newsradio...
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Regional Affairs Council - October 2011

KYW Regional Affairs Council

“Home Sweet School”

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - As people grow through various stages of their lives, how and where they live changes as well. And as single people turn into married families with children, schools factor into the housing equation.

Paul Levy, head of the Center City District (below right), notes that as people change, so do their housing needs.

levy paul ccd side Part 1:  Understanding School Catchment Areas

(Paul Levy, CEO of Center City District. Photo provided)

“Everybody kind of lives where they think it’s hip and cool when they’re 23,” he tells KYW Newsradio, “and when they start thinking about having children or when they have children, suddenly this issue of ‘where is the playground, where is the school?’ becomes really prominent.”

And he says many people begin to take school “catchment” zones into consideration when looking to buy a family home.

“The school district has a series of elementary schools that are meant to serve specific neighborhoods, and so they draw a line on the map based on their counting of the number of people and they call that area that’s served by the school the ‘catchment’ area,” Levy explains.

View Elementary School Catchment Map for Center City Philadelphia

mccoy ken real est agent hadas Part 1:  Understanding School Catchment Areas

(Ken McCoy, real estate agent. Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

Ken McCoy (right), a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, says good schools are among the top amenities for young families.

“And it’s a big selling point for someone and it’s a big search point for someone who’s actually looking to purchase a home,” he says.

How does that affect the price of a house?

“It’s a huge impact on the house,” McCoy says.  “If you are within that (desirable) catchment, it could have anywhere from $30,000 to possibly $100,000 difference.  Some people will use the numbers of 10 to 20 percent.”

Reported by Hadas Kuznits, KYW Newsradio 1060

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