Parents pay high property premiums to stay near the best state schools in England

Living in the catchment area of one of England’s top 100 state secondary schools carries a 42% house price premium compared to the surrounding area, new research has found.

It is not just proximity to high performing secondary schools that sees local house prices rise, buying a property near one of England’s top 1,000 state primary schools also carries an 8% house price premium.

Overall, the research from Santander Mortgages shows that across the whole of the UK parents are willing to pay a premium to secure a place for their child in their desired school.

Parents with school age children who have moved or are willing to move to live in their preferred catchment area are prepared to pay £26,860 more than the average UK property price3 in a bid to secure a space at a top school.

Parents keen to move are willing to pay a higher premium for a school catchment area than nearly any other amenity, as they would only pay an 11% premium to live in an area of low crime or 10% for good transport links.

The catchment area premium in London stands at £70,675, as parents willing to move would be prepared to pay 15% more to live in the vicinity of their first choice school, more than anywhere else in the UK. The South East ranks second, with parents prepared to pay an additional £40,294 to live in the catchment area of their preferred school.

‘Living in the vicinity of a top ranked school carries a significant house price premium. If families are looking to move into a catchment area specifically to boost their chances of getting into an elite school, they can expect to pay a hefty price,’ said Miguel Sard, managing director of Mortgages at Santander UK.

‘It is important when considering purchasing a property that people understand the true costs as the house price is just one of many. Stamp duty, solicitors’ fees and moving costs mount up. Parents are prepared to sacrifice a lot to give their child the best start in life and given these costs, it is important to find a mortgage lender that offers the best rate for you to ensure repayments are manageable, and the buying process is made as smooth as possible,’ he added.

The cost of securing a property in the right catchment area has seen 23% of parents pay significantly more for a property than they felt they could afford. Some 30% of parents with children aged four to 18 are considering moving in the next two years to ensure they are in their preferred school catchment area. However, almost a quarter of parents have or would consider, purchasing a less expensive property to send their children to private school.

Parents who ensured they were in the ‘right’ school catchment area have had to sacrifice as a result with 20% downsizing and 24% taking on extra hours at work while 25% saw their commuting costs increase.

The research also found 17% said it made their journey to work more difficult and 16% of families moved to an area they didn’t like, while 8% felt unsafe in their new area.