Boost for parents as premium for properties near top secondary schools falls from fifteen to five per cent

New research1 from Santander reveals that the house price premium for living close to one of the country’s top 100 state secondary schools has dropped from 15 per cent to five per cent in the last 12 months – in monetary terms a drop of £32,100. In 2018, the average premium paid for living in the catchment area of one of the top 100 state schools was £51,600 while in 2019 this had dropped to £19,5002.

The fall in premium, is likely to be welcome news for parents, more than a quarter (26%) of whom said they would be willing to pay a “school catchment premium” to live within a desired catchment area3. When asked what they would be prepared to pay for living close to the best schools, the average price tag was just over £20,000. When considering a property purchase, parents rated proximity to a good school as more important than being close to good transport links or family and friends.

Santander’s research also found that parents start to think about schooling well before their children reach school age with seven per cent starting to think about it when planning a family, six per cent when pregnant and 22% shortly after their child is born.

The stress of getting their kids into the right school has a real impact on parents’ mental wellbeing with almost a quarter (22%) saying it has caused them anxiety and 15% suffering sleepless nights. Ten per cent say they have been reduced to tears over the competition for school places.

Miguel Sard, Managing Director of Mortgages at Santander UK, said: “The recent property market slowdown has seen house prices in many school catchment hotspots cool significantly, giving an unexpected boost to parents looking to move near to sought-after state schools.

“With many parents planning for their child’s education straight after or even before their baby is born, and properties in top school catchments now more accessible, competition for school places looks set to be fiercer than ever.”

In addition to moving property, Santander’s research explores the other measures parents have taken in order to live within the catchment area of their preferred school. One in five (20%) have rented or would rent a second property to live within the catchment area, while 14 per cent have, or would consider, moving their child to stay with friends or relatives living within a catchment area, while living elsewhere themselves.

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 Notes to Editors

  1. Analysis of property paid price data for the period January-May 2019 published by HM Land Registry overlaid on the best ranked 500 primary schools and 100 secondary state schools in England by postcode area and outcode. The 500 best primary schools selected based on the percentage of pupils meeting expected standard or better in their reading and maths tests in 2018. The 100 best secondary state schools selected based on the percentage of students who achieved Grade 5 or above in English and maths GCSE in 2018 and 2019. All schools data published on Average prices for postcode areas (e.g. “SW1A”) and outcodes (e.g. “SW”) calculated based on the average price paid in the postcode area that contains a top-ranked school compared to other postcode areas without a top-ranked school, and both then compared to the wider average paid price in the wider outcode área.
  2. In 2019, the average price of a property within a top 100 state secondary school catchment area is £379,100, a decrease of £17,000 compared to the average price paid in 2018, while the average price of a property outside of catchment was £359,600, an increase of £15,000 on the average price paid in 2018.
  3. Research conducted by Opinium amongst 4,004 UK adults between 12th and 19th July 2019

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