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UK properties in top school areas cost 35% more, research shows

Elite state school catchment areas cost £77,000 more and the average cost of a house near one of Britain’s top state schools is £298,378, the new report from shows.

The most expensive catchment area among Britain’s top ten state schools is around The Henrietta Barnett School in Barnet, London, where the average house price is £655,429.

Other state schools at the top of the house price league include St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar in Orpington, Kent, which is ranked as the second best state school in the UK, as well as tenth placed Queen Elizabeth’s School in north London, which both saw average asking prices within the catchment area exceed twice the national average.

Overall, the average asking price of a house near one of Britain’s top 50 state schools is currently £298,378, some 35% higher than the UK average price of £221,110. And for those unable to buy, the average monthly rent of £944 is 7.8% higher than the UK as a whole.

But high house prices and good schools aren’t always present together. The highest ranked state school in the UK, Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School in Salisbury, has lower average asking prices of £286,112.

The research also found that parents are increasingly considering renting properties within catchment areas of good state schools to improve the chances of securing a place for their child. Six of the top 50 schools have local rental costs above £1,500, with rental prices near Beaconsfield High School commanding the greatest premiums, of £2,458 per month on average.

Buckinghamshire’s schools are popular among parents as they still use the eleven plus exam system and have a single sex school policy, which drives up demand and, in turn, asking prices.
However, prices are not always indicative of performance, with Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar in Salisbury ranking as the top state school in Britain and also boasting relatively modest average house prices of around £286,000.

Meanwhile, over a third of prospective homebuyers with children 10 years or under say moving into the catchment area of a good school is their top priority, according to research from Santander Mortgages.
People with children aged 10 or under are willing to pay over £12,000 extra to secure the home and school of their choice.

The Santander study reveals that people planning a move would be willing to pay an extra £5,663 on average to be able to move into a good catchment area. Of those who plan to buy a new home in the next five years, 15% say school catchment areas is one of their main priorities with many homebuyers willing to pay a much higher premium. While one in four of those with a child aged 11 to 17 see it as a major concern, and would be willing to pay a £11,564 premium for the privilege.

And the results differ across regions where places for schools can be more competitive. In the South East of England, for example, people would be willing to pay an extra £10,961 for a home in the catchment area of a good school.

Homebuyers in the West Midlands are most concerned about moving into a good catchment area, with one in four of them, 26%, citing it as a main priority, double the percentage that was concerned about this the last time they bought a home.

In the North East only 6% of buyers showed a particular interest in the catchment area the last time they purchased a home, but some 16% of people planning to buy a property in the region now consider it a main priority.

The research suggests that women are much more concerned about moving into a good catchment area than men and are willing to pay a £7,281 premium in comparison to £4,456 for men.