When it comes to education for their children, parents around the world rarely hesitate to do whatever they can to pool resources. And it is not an exception in New York City as parents pay much higher prices for houses in good school districts.
"Everybody in New York City with children, the first thing they think about where they buy (a house) is how far away it is from a good school," a New Yorker identified himself as Mark told Xinhua.
Public school admission in New York follows a zoning policy. A zoned school admits students who live in a designated area surrounding the school.
Under this policy, a New York parent has to provide the proof of residence when applying for a public school for the child, said Cindy Yin, the CEO and founder of Rosypad, a real estate dealer.
Jessie Tang, a real estate broker based in Queens, New York, said: "In New York City, good school district is very popular for most of the buyers who want to send their kids to good school."
Home prices in the good school districts have been much higher than areas with less attractive choices of schools and the price gap is expected to increase given high demand for houses with access to top-rated schools, Tang added.
In some extreme cases in Queens, house prices in the area of Forest Hills, a famous district with good education system, are twice as high as that in neighborhoods just a few blocks away, according to Tang.
As she sees it, home prices in good school districts are also more resilient in the face of a downturn.
However, Yin does not share Tang's view that schools are the top factor affecting house prices in New York.
"I wouldn't say this is the biggest factor that affects the real estate price in New York City. In American culture, there are many options for children. You can go to the best school, you can go to the top school, or you can have your talent," said Yin.
Also, as parents swarm to certain neighborhoods with good schools, admission is no longer guaranteed, local observers have noted.
In New York and many other U.S. cities, the policy is that if the zoned school has more applicants than available seats, siblings are admitted first, then remaining seats are offered based on a lottery system.
If a parent failed to secure a spot in a favored school nearby, his or her child will be allocated to another district, said Yin.