Western Morning News (Saturday) - - West Country Homes -

Re­search from San­tander Mort­gages re­veals liv­ing in the catch­ment area of one of Eng­land’s top 100 state se­condary schools car­ries a 42 per cent house price premium com­pared to the sur­round­ing area. 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 eight per cent house price premium.

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 price in a bid to se­cure a space at a top school.

Miguel Sard, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Mort­gages at San­tander UK said: “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. 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.”

The cost of se­cur­ing a prop­erty in the right catch­ment area has seen al­most a quar­ter (23 per cent) of par­ents pay sig­nif­i­cantly more for a prop­erty than they felt they could af­ford. Three in ten (30 per cent) par­ents with chil­dren aged 4-18 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. One in five (20 per cent) had to down­size their home, while 24 per cent have taken on ex­tra hours at work. A quar­ter (25 per cent) of par­ents saw their com­mut­ing costs in­crease, while 17 per cent said it made their jour­ney to work more dif­fi­cult. One in six (16 per cent) fam­i­lies moved to an area they didn’t like, while eight per cent felt un­safe in their new area. 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 per cent premium to live in an area of low crime or 10 per cent for good trans­port links.

The re­search also shows the lengths par­ents will go to get their chil­dren into their pre­ferred school, in­clud­ing ways to try and “game the sys­tem”. Tech­niques in­clude mov­ing chil­dren to stay with friends and rel­a­tives to be in a catch­ment area when they are re­ally liv­ing else­where (13 per cent) or rent­ing a sec­ond prop­erty in a de­sired catch­ment zone (nine per cent). More than one in ten par­ents (13 per cent) have reg­is­tered their child at an­other prop­erty so they are in a catch­ment area, but not ac­tu­ally moved them. Once a child has se­cured their school place many par­ents have no in­ten­tion of re­main­ing in the area, with 54 per cent plan­ning to move out hav­ing bagged a place at their school of choice.

As well ex­tra fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions, par­ents are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ad­di­tional pres­sure over se­cur­ing their first-choice school for their child, with al­most one in eight par­ents (12 per cent) suf­fer­ing from in­som­nia and the same num­ber strug­gling with feel­ings of in­ad­e­quacy as a par­ent.

The catch­ment area premium in London stands at £70,675, as par­ents will­ing to move would be pre­pared to pay 15 per cent 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 and the South West ranks eleventh, with par­ents pre­pared to pay 7% more, or £18,091 to move.


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