Posted on 3rd June 2016

How Much Extra Would you Pay to Live Next to a Good School

Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property
Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property

It comes as no surprise that parents want their children to receive the best education possible. And, it would seem families go to great lengths to achieve that.

According to new research, premiums of almost £44,000 are being paid to purchase properties near primary schools judged as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors. Those figures mainly relate to properties in London and the South, however. Ofsted itself says buyers nationwide can expect to pay an average of an extra £4,500 for homes within outstanding catchment areas.

An earlier study by Santander found one in four families in the UK had either moved house or changed address to obtain a school place for their children, with one in six saying they had deliberately bought or rented a second property within a desirable catchment area.

While there are many more factors which influence property prices than school catchment areas, it is clear they are one of the biggest considerations for families.

A quick glance at properties for sale within catchment areas in Durham and Darlington highlights there can be discrepancies between costs near to schools which are outstanding and those requiring improvement.

But these differences aren’t anywhere near so great as in other parts of the country. In the same postcode as the Darlington School of Maths and Science, for example, which was recently found to require improvement, a two-bedroom property can be purchased for as little as £59,995. But, it is possible to buy a home in the right catchment area for Durham Johnston School, graded outstanding, for £90,000.

Parents are faced with a choice, often very early in their children’s lives. Do they stay where they are, even if the school next to them isn’t as good as they would like? Or do they opt to move with the hope of securing a place at a better school?

Those who are looking at private, as well as state, education, need to take into account what moving is going to cost weighed against what school fees will set them back.

But, even for those who are paying, there are no guarantees of securing a place. Yarm School headmaster David Dunn says he regularly has parents who put their child’s name down for a place even before they are born.

For those looking to sell, the impact which Ofsted ratings have on property prices shouldn’t be underestimated. If the school near you is struggling but is due to release results of a further Ofsted inspection, it may well be worth waiting to put your property on the market. If you live within a good catchment area, it is definitely worth highlighting that to potential buyers, particularly young families who come to view.

When it comes to property, that old adage of location, location, location still holds true, but also important is education, education, education.

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. 

Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information go to call 01325 341500.