The importance of DC's emphasis on education

Over the last few years, no city has welcomed more residents than the District. More than 2,000 people have made the city their home in both 2011 and 2012, the Washington Post reports. Although this is good news, it is worth asking why this is so. The answer, as usual, is not simple, but many experts believe that a major factor is the District's reputation for the importance it places on education. In fact, the region's strong reputation for all things scholarly may be contributing to the rising prices of homes for sale in Washington, DC.

According to U.S. News and World Report's recent list of the 10 Most Educated U.S. Cities, the District is behind only Boulder, Colorado, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, in terms of the average level of education among residents. The city's cluster of nationally regarded universities and its reputation for results-driven public schools helps DC maintain a population of learned citizens.

The question, though, remains: how does this translate into increased property values? One of the most important ways a reputation for education leads to a stronger housing market is through the aforementioned influx of residents. Top-notch schools don't only attract devoted students, they also lure professors, administrators and other relatively well-off workers. These members of academia need places to live, which helps boost property values, especially in and around college towns.

But the positive real estate effects of education don't stop there. Academia is hardly the District's only famous product - law, politics and medicine all also have longstanding and well-regarded histories inside the Beltway. Of course, these professions are filled with employees who initially came to the city to attend one of its famous institutions of higher learning. According to the Washington Blade, the city's cluster of high-paying, degree-based jobs help it attract - and, crucially, retain - high-achieving residents.

As these industries have regained their footing after the recession of the late 2000s, the District's housing market has, unsurprisingly, improved. The source reports that inventories are shrinking and prices are rising - sure signs that demand is ticking up.

All of this is not lost on people involved in the city's governance and initiatives. In a statement last December, Mayor Vincent Gray praised the city's investment in, among other fields, education for the role it is playing in the strengthening economy.

"The District is a wonderful place to call home," he said, according to the Washington Times. "We've made historic investments in public safety and sustainability, and those investments are now paying dividends."