Good schools and the British education system are always making the headlines these days. The struggle to improve education standards means every school is striving to make improvements, which directly impacts local house prices. Parents are now more aware than ever before of the various merits of different state schools, and they are prepared to pay a premium to get their children into the best performing schools in the area.
In many cases, the decision on a child’s school place comes down to which side of a street people live. And according to the property website Zoopla.co.uk, the properties located within the catchment area of the country’s top 100 schools are worth up to 25 per cent more than average house values in their respective sectors. Indeed, Zoopla report that is living in the southeast of England, near a top school, can double the property price.
Are house prices near good schools recession-proof?
It also seems that homes close to high-performing schools are recession-proof and benefit from higher property prices. According to Zoopla.co.uk, the desire to have their children attend the best schools is often a factor that overrides parents’ other concerns. Unfortunately, the poorest children have no other choice than to attend the worst schools. And because school performances link to budgets, the problem may become worse.
The growing importance of school performance is on local house prices; estate agents have up-to-date catchment areas and OFSTED reports. The awareness of just how vital local schools are to buyers with families continues to drive house prices upwards, leading to mini property bubbles in some regions of the UK. Parents who can’t afford the luxury of private education are looking for houses near good schools as a cost-effective way of ensuring their children get the best education possible.
Property values may change if a school’s circumstances change.
However, homeowners need to remember that events beyond their control can very quickly change the status quo. Changes to admission rules, school closures, and falls in standards can directly and immediately impact local property prices. It is, therefore, important for homeowners to monitor the performance of local schools – whether those people are parents or not. It is also the case that school catchment areas are constantly changing to account for demographic changes and the emergence of new residential developments. A property that may have once been in the catchment area of a top school could, overnight, be in the catchment area of one of the worst.
Despite the apparent advantages of living next to a high-performing school, some mitigating factors can temper property valuations somewhat. People without children may not want to live in areas that suffer from parking problems and heavy traffic during the school runs. There is a genuine possibility that the extra noise and disruption from schools can scare some buyers off. It is also essential for purchasers to remember that a good school is only one factor of several to consider when buying property. Homeowners near good schools can usually sell their homes quickly as demand is invariably high. Many buyers will place offers on houses in areas of high demand without performing a complete survey first, which can lead to future costs that far outstrip the benefit of being close to a good school.
Regardless of the underlying market conditions, it seems that there will always be a demand for homes in areas with good schools. Parents will pay over the odds for homes in specific neighbourhoods as long as school admissions adopt the catchment system. However, it is essential to remember all of the determining factors relating to property prices before making such an important decision when buying or selling a property.