Do School Catchment Areas Affect Local Property Prices?
Would you spend $50,000 more for a property to be in the catchment area of a top local school?
For many parents looking for a family home the answer is an emphatic yes, and a clear indication that people are prepared to pay a premium to be near a well-regarded or top performing local school. There is also data to back this up, where suburbs near in-demand schools have higher house price growth than other postcodes nearby.
Let’s take a look at the evidence and what you need to consider before buying.
What is a school catchment area?
A school catchment area is a defined area – typically around a state school – where you must live to have your children automatically enrolled. The boundaries are defined by the school and can change over time, depending on student numbers, overcrowding and changes to local demographics. The main reason for having catchment areas is to maintain class size targets, and to service the needs of in-catchment families.
If you are outside the catchment area of a school you can still apply to go there – you are just not guaranteed a place. Your child will typically go on a waiting list, and you may even need to attend an interview to justify them attending the school. Private, independent and Catholic schools can also have less formal rules on catchment areas, and may take your location into account when considering your application.
Is there a correlation between property prices and school catchment areas?
The short answer is yes – with all data pointing to a direct correlation between property price growth and in-demand school catchment areas. Families want the best for their children, and top of the list for many is a top-notch education. What is it worth?
According to Domain’s School Zones Report, properties in prime school catchment areas can sell for up to 10 to 15 per cent more. The report found that property price growth near top schools was significantly higher than the average growth rate of the city. Other sources report, you can achieve anywhere from a $50,000 to $150,000 premium for a home in an in-demand postcode.
Buying a property in a school catchment area
If you are considering a property purchase based on a school catchment area make sure you do your research.
Particular postcodes are not guaranteed to perform because of a school, and factors can change over time. Schools alter their catchment areas periodically – called rezoning – to keep a handle on numbers. So a suburb or property may slip out of a catchment area, or be included if the school expands their catchment area. You also need to track the performance of a school – a change in headmaster could impact academic results for the better or worse.
The safest way of securing a spot in a local school is to find out the current zone, school catchment zones and buy a property that is well within the geographical boundaries. Buy in a fringe location and you could find yourself excluded if the school shrinks its boundaries. If you have two children this could mean the younger sibling may not be guaranteed a place in the school, even if the older child is at the school.
Schools in the 4122 postcode
4122: Mount Gravatt, Mount Gravatt East, Upper Mount Gravatt, Mansfield and Wishart
As you can only imagine there are a plethora of popular schools located in the 5 suburbs that populate the 4122 postcode, but leading the way in popularity would have to be Mansfield State High School – School of Excellence.