Parents pay the price for school catchment areas

Nia Williams

September 10, 2012

House prices in the postal districts of the top 30 state schools in England – defined as those secondary schools that achieved the best GCSE results in 2011 – were on average £33,631 (12%) higher than the neighbouring locations in their county. This is almost three times the average annual private school fee of £11,422.

Overall, the typical price of a home in the postal districts of England’s best state schools is £303,902. This is almost a third higher (29% or £67,581) than the average house price across England of £236,321.

In fact the postal districts of the top performing secondary state schools in seven of the nine English regions command a house price premium compared to their county average. The North West has the largest premium with houses in postal districts of the top ten state schools in the region trading at an average of 28% (£43,437) above the average house price in the county. This is followed by the North of England where house prices near the top schools are almost a fifth (18%) higher than their county average.

In contrast, homes in the South West of England that are in close vicinity to the best performing schools trade at a discount (-16%) to neighbouring locations. There is also a discount in East Midlands (-6%).

Suren Thiru, housing economist, Lloyds TSB, said: “In general, homes close to the nation’s top performing state schools command a significant premium over neighbouring areas. The presence of a good school appears to help support property values in many of these locations as parents compete with other buyers and investors to land the property that gives their child the best possible chance to attend their chosen school.

“The downside of high property values in many of these areas is that it can create a financial barrier to attending the best non-fee paying schools, with many lower and middle income families finding it very difficult to purchase a home in these locations.”

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