Special Report

10 Most Affordable Neighborhoods With the Best Schools

Thomas C. Frohlich, Alexander

10. North Pointe Elementary School
> House payment pct. median income: 14.44%
> City: Hebron, KY
> Zip code: 41048
> Pct. above state test score avg.: 54%
> Avg. home price: $190,429

North Pointe Elementary is located in Hebron, Kentucky, where an average home cost $190,429. Hebron home values are relatively high compared to the rest of the nation, but residents are also quite wealthy. A typical mortgage payment was equal to 14.44% of the area’s estimated median income of $100,209, the 10th most affordable payment among areas reviewed. Elementary school-aged children also scored more than 50% higher than their statewide peers on standardized tests. The area surrounding North Pointe Elementary also had the benefit of an exceptionally low unemployment rate of just 4.9%. Like most of the regions reviewed, the Hebron area had a relatively low poverty rate of 4.5%, considerably lower than the national poverty rate of 14.9%.

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9. Deerfield Elementary School
> House payment pct. median income: 14.34%
> City: Utica, NY
> Zip code: 13502
> Pct. above state test score avg.: 62%
> Avg. home price: $79,197

Students scored 62% higher on average at Deerfield Elementary than in New York State as a whole. While such a good education may be worth a fortune to many parents, buying a property near the school is quite inexpensive. According to RealtyTrac, the average home in the zip code — part of the city of Utica — was just over $79,000, with payments costing just 14.3% of a typical residents’ income. Unlike a number of other areas with great schools at low prices, however, area residents are not well off. The area median household income was estimated to be $41,968, and over 22% of people lived below the poverty line, both far worse than the U.S. overall.

8. Monica B Leary Elementary School
> House payment pct. median income: 14.05%
> City: Rush, NY
> Zip code: 14543
> Pct. above state test score avg.: 34%
> Avg. home price: $161,252

Like several other schools with high test scores in affordable areas, Monica B Leary Elementary is in a city just outside a major urban area. In this case, families living in Rush are within commuting distance of Rochester, NY. This proximity may partly explain the high incomes in Rush, as urban areas tend to offer higher paying jobs. More than one in 10 households in the area earned over $200,000 between 2008 and 2012, the highest proportion among the areas reviewed. And while residents are much wealthier than most Americans, an average home in the area was valued at $161,252, among lower home values nationwide. In addition, an estimated 1.7% of area residents lived in poverty between 2008 and 2012, among the lowest figures and a fraction of the national poverty rate of 14.9%.