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

Over a quarter (26 per cent) of parents with children of a school age 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 families are prepared to spend an 11 per cent premium - which equates to an average £23,707 in the current property market2 - in order to move to their desired catchment area. This is just under the average full-time salary in the UK, which currently stands at £27,6003. On a regional basis, those living in London are willing to pay the highest premium (15 per cent) – equating to an eye-watering £71,539* in the current property market.

The sacrifices made by parents to be within these sought-after catchment areas go far beyond financial, with 17 per cent having changed jobs as a result of the move. A fifth (20 per cent) say they were forced to downsize while 15 per cent moved to an area they did not like. A further 22 per cent admit they overstretched themselves, paying more for the property than they could realistically afford and 21 per cent moved to a location that was far away from family or friends.

Santander’s study suggests that the moves made by many of these families are temporary, with only 29 per cent planning to continue living in the area. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of those who moved to be within a particular catchment area said they had, or would, move out straight away once their child had secured a place.

Amongst families who have moved to be within their desired catchment area, almost half (49 per cent) said they had sold their previous property and purchased a new one within their chosen area. A quarter (25 per cent) said they purchased a second home in the catchment area, while just over a quarter (26 per cent) secured their desired address by renting a property.

This trend looks set to continue as 58 per cent of parents who expect to move house before their children leave school, say catchment areas will have an impact on where they choose to live.

Miguel Sard, Managing Director of Mortgages, Santander UK said: “School catchment areas remain a key discussion point for many parents. Our research shows that with competition for school places remaining high, parents are making significant financial and lifestyle sacrifices to be within the catchment area of desirable schools. Living within a certain school catchment area is a priority for many families but these premium addresses can come with a hefty price tag.

“For those wanting to buy a new home, affordability is key so it’s important to look at incomings and outgoings carefully. Unfortunately this is likely to be harder to achieve for those wanting to buy in a specific school catchment area. We urge parents looking to move not to stretch themselves beyond their means - finding a mortgage provider that not only offers competitive rates and products but also has the expertise to ensure that the right deal is secured is fundamental to this.”

Looking regionally, there are significant variations in the overall proportion of parents moving to be within a catchment area and also in their decision as to whether they buy, rent or look to secure a second property. Overall London has the highest proportion of parents moving to secure an address within a specific catchment area (46 per cent), while East Midlands has the lowest (11 per cent).

Regional table: Proportion of parents with children aged 4 to 18 that have moved house in order to secure an address in their preferred school catchment area

RegionSold old home and moved to a new homePurchased a second propertyRented a property/second propertyTotal %
North East**18%6%3%29%
North West10%3%8%20%
Yorks & Humber16%7%4%28%
East Midlands7%2%2%11%
West Midlands20%8%5%33%
East of England9%5%3%17%
South East10%5%8%24%
South West11%6%2%20%

Source: Santander 2016.

The average premium paid by parents for a property in their desired school catchment area ranges from seven per cent in the South West, to 15 per cent in London. As a result of higher property prices, London also has the highest value premium at £71,539.

Regional*** table: Breakdown of average property premiums4

RegionAverage premium paid (% of total property price)Average property price for that regionAverage premium paid (£)
North East9%£124,466£11,058
North West8%£145,730£11,633
Yorks & Humber12%£147,044£17,785
East Midlands11%£170,120£18,373
West Midlands11%£173,566£19,884
East of England8%£265,156£22,290
South East8%£306,037£23,477
South West7%£231,469£15,238

 Source: Santander 2016 & the latest Land Registry data, released in May 2016

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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 4,005 UK adults conducted by Opinium Research, July 2016.
2) Based on current UK average property price of £211,230. The current average property price for London is £472,163. Source:latest Land Registry figures released in May 2016.
3) ASHE, ONS median gross earnings for full-time employees is £27,600 before tax.
4) Figures in this table include the actual premium paid by parents who have moved to be within a desired catchment area and also the premium that parents who would consider moving, would be willing to pay.

* As a result of higher property prices, London has the highest value premium at £71,539.
**Due to low base sizes, regional breakdowns for North East and Wales should be seen as indicative only.
*** Due to low base sizes, regional breakdowns should be seen as indicative only. 

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. As at 30 June 2016, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees and operates through 847 branches (which includes 58 university branches) and 69 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

About Us
Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN)
is a leading retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization and among the top banks on a global basis. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.52 trillion in managed funds, 12,500 branches and 190,000 employees at the close of June 2016. In the first half of 2016, Santander made underlying profit of EUR 3,280 million.

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