Look north for school bar­gains

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Markets - FOR SALE HOMES NEAR TOP-PER­FORM­ING SCHOOLS

The bat­tle for the best ed­u­ca­tion is not to be taken lightly, re­ports Is­abelle Fraser

For most fam­i­lies, find­ing the house of their dreams is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to the prop­erty’s prox­im­ity to a good school. With the cost of send­ing a child to an in­de­pen­dent school in­creas­ing more sharply than house prices, get­ting into the right catch­ment area has be­come even more im­por­tant.

The In­de­pen­dent Schools Coun­cil says that fees have in­creased by 553 per cent since 1991, a big­ger jump than the growth in price of the av­er­age UK house at 237 per cent, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics.

Sav­ills has iden­ti­fied the top places for state schools in each re­gion of Eng­land, with ar­eas such as Wat­ford, West Dorset, and Ham­mer­smith and Ful­ham in Lon­don com­ing out on top in the south. But here, house prices are rel­a­tively high; look north to Har­ro­gate, Gateshead and Traf­ford, which takes in much of Cheshire’s “Golden Tri­an­gle”, and a fam­ily home with a top school nearby be­comes more within reach.

House price growth is ac­cel­er­at­ing in cities in the north of Eng­land, in­di­cat­ing that a re­vival in the re­gion’s hous­ing mar­ket may be on the hori­zon.

Re­search by Home­track has re­vealed that house prices in north­ern cities such as Liver­pool, Not­ting­ham and Manch­ester are grow­ing at rates far higher than those in the South.

Frances Clacy of Sav­ills Re­search says: “It’s not clear what comes first, but it’s gen­er­ally true that with good schools comes high house prices, though this isn’t nec­es­sar­ily al­ways the case. The rel­a­tive value of­fered by prop­erty in the north of Eng­land, in com­par­i­son with the south, means that buy­ers can move to these more af­ford­able lo­ca­tions with­out com­pro­mis­ing on their chil­dren at­tend­ing high-per­form­ing schools.”

In Har­ro­gate, there is strong de­mand for homes near the top­per­form­ing schools in the town. The sale of a three-bed­room semide­tached in The Saints, an area within the catch­ment area of St Ai­dan’s Church of Eng­land High School, tells a typ­i­cal tale. Af­ter an open house with 44 view­ings, there were 14 of­fers made, and it even­tu­ally sold for 30 per cent over the guide price within two days of it be­ing on the mar­ket in July.

Houses rarely come up for sale in these prized catch­ment ar­eas – and when they do, there is war. Three such homes have been on the mar­ket in the past two months, and all were snapped up within two days. There is lit­tle sign of a Brexit slow­down here.

Homes within the catch­ment area of the top-per­form­ing state schools carry a 79 per cent pre­mium on the av­er­age price on the rest of the re­gion. This can be ex­plained partly by Har­ro­gate’s rel­a­tive af­flu­ence and The best places for top schools South West South East East Mid­lands York­shire and the Hum­ber East of Eng­land West Mid­lands North West Outer Lon­don In­ner Lon­don North East high house prices com­pared with the rest of York­shire and the Hum­ber. “The pre­mium is a fair re­flec­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion to get into the school,” says Alas­tair Hart, di­vi­sional di­rec­tor for Hunters in Har­ro­gate. The av­er­age house price around top schools here is £312,523.

There have also been cases of fam­i­lies rent­ing prop­er­ties within catch­ment ar­eas, says Hart.

“Peo­ple have rented and then not moved in,” he says. “Once you have an ad­dress in that area, it could get you into the school. Oth­ers have bought a prop­erty for the long term and rented it out – and use it as their ad­dress for the school.”

Re­search by on­line agent let­tin­gaprop­erty.com has re­vealed that 87 per cent of peo­ple would con­sider rent­ing a temporary home to en­sure their child went to their pre­ferred school.

“We think there is some of that go­ing on in Gateshead,” says Ajay Jagota, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of es­tate agency KIS. Many peo­ple “have a sec­ond prop­erty in or­der to be in the right catch­ment area. It is fairly af­ford­able here com­pared with wages. If you’re in the top 10 or 20 per cent of earn­ers in the North East, you can have your pick.”

Gateshead is the re­gion’s hotspot for top-per­form­ing schools; here, house prices are more af­ford­able, at an av­er­age of £142,288. Homes within catch­ment ar­eas do not com­mand a pre­mium and are, in fact, seven per cent lower than the av­er­age price for the re­gion.

Jagota says there is height­ened ac­tiv­ity af­ter the Of­sted re­sults come out be­cause of the link be­tween house-buy­ing de­ci­sions and school per­for­mance.

Traf­ford is home to seven of the coun­try’s top-per­form­ing schools. “It’s rare to find state schools of such high cal­i­bre,” says An­drew Thorpe of Sav­ills in Wilm­slow. The area, which in­cludes the well-heeled vil­lages of Al­trin­cham, Hale and Bow­don, is also well­con­nected with a great sense of com­mu­nity. But with this comes higher prices: homes near these top schools are 139 per cent pricier than the av­er­age for the North West. A four-bed­room home, near Prince Henry’s Gram­mar School.

Top marks: this four-bed­room home in Ot­ley, near Har­ro­gate, is £975,000 with Hunters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.