10 Best Places for Families to Live

Today we’re excited to introduce our first annual ranking of the Best Places for Families to Live. When searching for a home, many families are looking to buy in high-performing school districts, but they don’t want to break the bank doing so (since good schools are often in affluent areas).

Our rankings take into account both the availability of highly ranked schools (based on the ZipRealty School Score) and affordability of local real estate (based on the median price per square foot within the school district). Our proprietary School Score ratings measure the performance of each school district (including elementary, middle and high schools) on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest; ratings are based on test score data as well as student/teacher ratios. We also only considered areas where 10 home sales closed within school district lines during 2012.

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Best Places for Families to Live:

1.     Minneapolis area

Standout School District: Westonka Public Schools – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.6

Median Price per Square Foot: $112

What to Do on the Weekends: Hang out on Lake Minnetonka or take the kids into Minneapolis to catch a Twins game at Target Field.

 

2. Chicago area

Standout School District: Geneva Community Unit – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.4

Median Price per Square Foot: $123

What to Do on the Weekends: Bike or stroll along the Fox River waterfront or dine out at one of the restaurants in downtown.

 

3. Portland area

Standout School District: Lake Oswego – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.6

Median Price per Square Foot: $167

What to Do on the Weekends: Visit one the area’s many parks or gardens or take a picnic to Oswego Lake.

 

4. Philadelphia area

Standout School District: Tredyffrin/Easttown – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.2

Median Price per Square Foot: $177

What to Do on the Weekends: Relive history (or just enjoy the bike trails) in Valley Forge National Historical Park or shop till you drop at King of Prussia Mall (largest shopping mall in the US).

 

5. Austin area

Standout School District: Eanes Independent – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.0

Median Price per Square Foot: $207

What to Do on the Weekends: Go for a family-friendly hike in the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve or take a dip in Barton Springs Pool (average temperature of 68 degrees, year-round).

 

6. Westchester, NY

Standout School District: Briarcliff Manor Union Free – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.9

Median Price per Square Foot: $250

What to Do on the Weekends: Take a drive along the Hudson River or enjoy some shopping on Briarcliff Manor’s charming, tree-lined streets.

 

7. Dallas area

Standout School District: Highland Park Independent – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.2

Median Price per Square Foot: $287

What to Do on the Weekends: Head to a local museum to check out an art exhibit or drive to Arlington to see the Dallas Cowboys or Texas Rangers play.

 

8. Seattle area

Standout School District: Mercer Island – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.3

Median Price per Square Foot: $295

What to Do on the Weekends: Hike along the island waterfront or hop over the floating bridge to Seattle for some brunch.

 

9. Boston area

Standout School District: Lexington – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.7

Median Price per Square Foot: $321

What to Do on the Weekends: Take a ride on the Minuteman Bikeway or relax at the “Old Reservoir” with a picnic or ice skating, depending on the season!

 

10. Orange County, CA

Standout School District: Irvine Unified – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.2

Median Price per Square Foot: $328

What to Do on the Weekends: Go shopping at South Coast Plaza or get a frozen treat on Balboa Island.

 

Check out ratings for schools in your area by searching by school district or by scrolling down to the Schools Information box on any home detail page!

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