Los Angeles Families Spend 38% More in Rent to Live Near a Good School

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Key Takeaways:

  • Only 12% of public elementary schools in L.A. perform above average

  • Rents near top-ranking public schools in L.A. are 38% higher than near low-ranking schools

  • Home prices near top-ranking public schools are 185% higher than near low-ranking schools

Any parent knows that as soon as your child approaches school age you start thinking about what school your kid will attend. And in order to make (what feels like) this life-altering decision, you start the daunting task of finding the right school to enroll your soon-to-be kindergartner. You look up your neighborhood school, you ask for the opinions of other parents, you browse the internet hours on end, researching neighborhoods, school ratings, and housing prices.

We’ve all heard of the correlation between desirable schools and pricier homes, and the same being true for rents. But how much more does it actually cost? We crunched some numbers for you, by calculating rent averages from Yardi Matrix and average home prices from Property Shark, then cross-referenced those numbers with schools data from greatschools.org, to see exactly how much more you would need to pay to live in the attendance zone of a good school in Los Angeles.

Families Spend in Average $7,400/Year More on Rent Near Good Schools

Rent prices in LA school attendance zones

The average rent near low-ranking schools is $1,614, while the average rent near top-ranking schools is $2,231. This translates into a difference of $617 per month ($7,400 more per year) a renter family has to shell out to ensure their kids have access to quality education.

We compiled the average rent prices in apartment complexes with more than 50 units, located in the attendance zones of L.A.’s best-rated public schools and those in the attendance zones of the worst-performing schools. To avoid any geographic overlaps and duplicate information, we took into account only public and public charter elementary schools. Of the total 366 public elementary schools in Los Angeles, 43 are rated “above-average” (those with scores between 8 and 10), which account for 12% of the total number of elementary schools. 160 elementary schools are rated “below-average” (those with scores between 1 and 3), the equivalent of about 44% of all elementary schools. Great Schools’ ratings for California schools are based solely on state standardized test scores.

Great Deals on Rentals Near Good Schools

With good public schools a rarity and rents repeatedly hitting all-time-highs, affordable rentals in Los Angeles near good schools are hard to come by. Luckily, we found a few reasonably-priced apartments located near three of the best elementary schools in L.A.:

Sonoma at Porter Ranch

Sonoma at Porter Ranch in Chatsworth

Sonoma at Porter Ranch in Chatsworth

The rental community of Sonoma at Porter Ranch is located in the attendance zone of Porter Ranch Community School, a top-rated L.A. elementary school in the Chatsworth neighborhood. The average rent in this neighborhood is $2,037. Priced just below average, one-bedroom apartments at Sonoma at Porter Ranch start at $1,855 and 700 sq. ft. and two-bedroom units start at $2,157 and 1,020 sq. ft.

Hancock Villa

Hancock Villa Apartments in Hancock Park

Hancock Villa Apartments in Hancock Park

Located in the attendance zone of Third Street Elementary, the apartments at Hancock Villa start at $1,695 for a one-bedroom 850 sq. ft. unit and $2,395 for a two-bedroom 1,050 sq. ft. unit. Conveniently located between downtown and mid-city, the apartment community is priced well below the average rent in Hancock Park of $2,481.


Woodcliff Apartments for Rent Los Angeles

Woodcliff Apartments is located in Palms, in the attendance zone of the much sought-after Clover Avenue Elementary School in West L.A. The average rent in this area is $2,118, but this beautiful property offers spacious 1-bedroom apartments starting at $1,825/month and 2-bedrooms at $2,750/month.

L.A. Home Prices Are 185% Higher Near Top-Ranking Public Schools

Home values are generally a telling indicator of a good neighborhood. But the City of Los Angeles exhibits a great divide in terms of home prices in affluent areas vs impoverished areas, and the quality of public schools is part of the same equation.

The average home sale price in the attendance zones of top-ranking schools is — get ready — $1,430,000! That’s 185% more than the average home price of $501,000 near low-ranking schools. Property taxes, which tie directly into school funding, are 186% higher in well-off areas with top-ranking schools. The average monthly mortgage (including property taxes) in the attendance zone of a top-ranking school is $6,772, while the average monthly mortgage in the attendance zones of low-ranking schools is $2,373.

Great Condo Deals Near Good Schools

But if you search long enough, you may be able to own an affordable home near a good school in Los Angeles, like this condo in the exclusive neighborhood of Brentwood:

11767 W Sunset Boulevard P8, Los Angeles

Penthouse condominium at 11767 W Sunset Boulevard

Penthouse condominium at 11767 W Sunset Boulevard — Photo and listing via Point2 Homes

The 1,000 sq. ft. penthouse condominium is listed for $527,000. It offers one bedroom, a dining room that can be converted into a second bedroom, two baths and is located in a well-maintained community in the attendance zone of Kenter Canyon Elementary School, a top-ranking public school. This is a fairly low-priced property for Brentwood, where the average home price is just under $2 million.

Rancho Park has some attractive full-service condominium buildings perfect for small families:

2170 Century Park East #205, Los Angeles

Condominium at 2170 Century Park East in West L.A.

Condominium at 2170 Century Park East in West L.A.

For $539,000 you can purchase this spacious 2-bedroom 2-bath condominium at Century Park East, which will put you in the attendance zone of the prestigious Westwood Charter Elementary School in West L.A.’s Rancho Park, a great deal in a neighborhood where home sale prices average $1.4 million.

Most of L.A.’s quality schools are located primarily in the well-off neighborhoods of West L.A. This exclusive side of town — famous for its extremely pricey homes (which explains the 185% price gap mentioned above) — is a stark reminder of how living in a good Los Angeles neighborhood is becoming more and more unattainable for middle-income families.


  1. Publicly available attendance boundary data was used (where available) to determine the average rent and the average sale price for all schools in both categories – top-ranked and low-ranked schools.
  2. Where attendance boundary data was not available, a 1-mile radius was used to determine the average rent.
  3. The value given for the average rents is a combined average of all areas with top-rated elementary schools and a combined average of all areas with low-rated elementary schools. 
  4. The average rents are valid as of May 2016 and have been extracted from Yardi Matrix – an apartment intelligence service that tracks all apartment buildings 50 units or larger, in 115 markets across the US. We considered only apartment communities with 50+ units for this analysis.
  5. When compiling the average sale price we took into account sales recorded during January – April 2016 in Los Angeles.
  6.  Average mortgage payments were calculated with a 30-year amortization, 20% down payment, 4% interest rate and 1.1% property taxes. Amounts may be approximated. Other housing-related costs were not taken into account. 

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Nadia Balint is a senior creative writer for RENTCafé. She covers news and trends in residential and commercial real estate and their impact on our everyday life, including rental housing, for-sale housing, real estate development, homeownership, market reports, insurance, landlord-tenant laws, personal finance, urban development, economy, sustainability, and social issues. Nadia holds a B.S. in Business Management from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. You can connect with Nadia via email.

Nadia’s work and expertise have been quoted by major national and local media outlets, including CNN, CNBC, CBS News, Curbed, The NY Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post as well as industry publications, such as GlobeSt, Bisnow, Inman News, Multifamily Executive, and The Commercial Real Estate Show. Nadia also wrote for Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive, HubSpot, and more. Prior to entering the real estate industry, Nadia worked in the legal field, where she gained over 10 years of experience in business, corporate, and real estate law.

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