It was recently reported in the media that some condominiums are being sold in China with guaranteed admission to a prestigious school. Buyers are paying a premium for these condominiums, so that their children will be guaranteed admission to elementary and middle schools that will improve their chances of being accepted at the top universities. In China a spot at the top universities will enhance a student’s job prospects at state-run companies and government agencies, which are sought-after jobs.
Contrast what is happening in China with what we are seeing in Toronto. While construction of condominiums has been skyrocketing in the urban core, particularly along the Yonge Street corridor, the construction of new schools has not kept pace with the population growth in some areas. Consequently, the disclosure packages for some condominiums contain a warning that advises parents that while there may be schools located within walking distance and sometimes within sight of the condominium, those schools may not have the capacity to accept new students and new students will need to be bused to schools outside the immediate area. In some cases, school boards are placing warning signs at street level.
As traditional single-family houses in the urban core have become unaffordable for many families, many young families face the choice of living in a condominium in the urban core or buying a house in the suburbs. In a prior blog post several years ago, we reported that the Toronto District School Board was looking at locating schools in high-rise condominium projects. This may be the solution here. Parents in Toronto do not have the options being offered in some condominiums in China.