One in four (24%) parents with school age children have either bought or rented a new property so as to secure an address within their desired school catchment area, research from Santander Mortgages has found.
The study also found that those families willing to move are prepared to spend a 12% premium for their desired catchment area, equivalent to an extra £26,800 in the current property market. This is just under the average full-time salary in the UK, which currently stands at £28,2133.
Miguel Sard, managing director of mortgages, Santander UK said: “Living within a certain school catchment area is top of the wish list for many families but often these addresses come at a premium. Our study highlights the significant financial and lifestyle sacrifices that parents are making to be within the catchment area of a desired school.
“Buyers need to do their research as properties in catchment areas often come with a hefty price tag, especially in London where competition for school places is fierce. We urge parents not to over-stretch themselves, but to find a mortgage provider that not only offers competitive rates and products but also has the expertise to ensure that the right deal is secured and the repayments are affordable.”
Parents are going to great lengths to be within these sought-after catchment areas, with their sacrifices going far beyond financial. A fifth (20%) of those who moved changed jobs, while 20% said they were forced to downsize and 19% moved to an area where they did not feel safe.
One in four (25%) admit they overstretched themselves, paying more for the property than they could realistically afford and 26% moved to a location that was far away from family or friends.
This trend looks set to continue as 40% of parents who expect to move house before their children leave school say catchment areas will dictate where they choose to live.