There are lots of factors that parents use when deciding where they want to live. The property itself, transport links, local amenities and facilities all play a part and for families with school age children, then the school is also a massive factor. But do school catchment areas really have an impact on property sales and house prices?
The wider picture
According to a survey on This Is Money last year, families in England are playing around £44,000 more to live in the catchment area of a primary school that has received an ‘outstanding’ rating in its Ofsted report. The comparison looked at the average price within the catchment area and the rest of the postcode.
The figures were based on some 50 state-funded English primary schools and found that prices in streets closest to these schools were 18% higher than in the rest of the same postcode. But some parts of the country, this figure was even higher. In the area around St Luke’s Primary School in Brighton, the increase was a staggering 45% adding around £150,000 to the cost of the house.
While the prices here in the north-east are lower than many other areas of the country, there is still the same trend as in other areas. For example, the Valley View Primary School in South Tyneside sees an increase of 28% due to the rating of the school in the areas immediately surrounding it.
Schools affecting moving practices
The emphasis placed on getting into the catchment areas for the best schools has had a profound effect on the moving practices of people around the UK. One in four families now admits they have moved to a new house to have a better chance of getting their children into the school they want while one in six has even bought or rented a second property within the catchment area.
Further to this, parents even take on extra hours or change their jobs to secure the income needed to take these measures and to afford these more expensive houses. One in four of those surveyed by Santander, for example, said they had even paid ‘significantly more’ for a property to be able to get that catchment location.
And the trend shows no sign of abating. Many of those surveyed said they were considering a move of house to be in with a chance of sending their child to the desired school with an increasing number willing to rent a property if they can’t afford it. The study did show that this situation eased once children were over the age of 11 and into comprehensive school, perhaps because catchment areas are larger or less complicated than with primary schools.
North East Estate Agent
For parents wanting the best schooling for their children, sometimes there is no step they won’t take to get into the desired catchment area. But this is definitely affecting the housing prices in these areas and may mean that schools need to look at their policies to ensure placement in the desired school is fair for everyone.