One in four parents have had to move house to be within their desired school catchment area

One in four (24 per cent) parents with school age children have either bought or rented a new property in order to secure an address within their desired school catchment area, according to new research1 from Santander Mortgages.

The study also found that those families willing to move are prepared to spend a 12 per cent premium for their desired catchment area, equivalent to an extra £26,800 in the current property market2. This is just under the average full-time salary in the UK, which currently stands at £28,2133.

Parents are going to great lengths to be within these sought-after catchment areas, with their sacrifices going far beyond financial. A fifth (20 per cent) of those who moved changed jobs, while 20 per cent say they were forced to downsize and 19 per cent moved to an area where they did not feel safe. One in four (25 per cent) admit they overstretched themselves, paying more for the property than they could realistically afford and 26 per cent moved to a location that was far away from family or friends.

The bank’s study suggests that the moves made by many of these families are temporary, with only 26 per cent planning to continue living in the area once their child leaves school. More than four in 10 (44 per cent) of those who moved to be within a catchment area said they will leave as soon as their child has secured a place. This figure rises to two thirds (66 per cent) for parents in London.
Amongst families who have moved to be within their desired catchment area, 51 per cent said they had sold their previous property and purchased a new one within their chosen area. Three in 10 (30 per cent) said they purchased a second home in the catchment area, while 19 per cent secured their desired address by renting a property.

This trend looks set to continue as 40 per cent of parents who expect to move house before their children leave school say catchment areas will dictate where they choose to live.

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.”

Regional table: Proportion of parents with children aged 4 to 18 that have moved house or would do so to secure an address in their preferred school catchment area and the premium paid



Percentage of parents who have bought or rented

Average premium buyers have paid or are prepared to pay additional percentage on original property price*

Average property price for that region

Average school catchment premium for this region*

North East





North West





Yorks & Humber





East Midlands





West Midlands





East of England










South East





South West















N. Ireland











Source: Santander Mortgages, 2017

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The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors

1) Research of 4,014 UK adults conducted by Opinium Research, July 2017.
2) Based on current UK average property price of £223,257. The current average property price for London is £481,556. Source: latest Land Registry figures released in June 2017 (published 15 August 2017).
3) ASHE, ONS median gross earnings for full-time employees is £28,213 before tax.

* Regions except for London have a low base so should be viewed as indicative only
** N. Ireland average property price is for Q2 2017 as per the latest Land Registry figures released in June 2017 (published 15 August 2017).

About Us
Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 30 June 2017, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c19,500 employees and operates through 826 branches (which includes 61 university branches) and 65 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK. All accounts opened with Santander UK plc, Isle of Man Branch have situs in the Isle of Man and therefore are covered by the Isle of Man Depositors’ Compensation Scheme as set out in the Isle of Man Depositors’ Compensation Scheme Regulations 2010 and not covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Banco Santander is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is among the world’s top banks by market capitalization. At the end of June 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 1.65 trillion in managed funds, 131 million customers, 13,800 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 3.6 billion in the first half of 2017, an increase of 24% compared to the same period last year.


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