• Living near one of England's top 100 state secondary schools carries a 42 per cent house price premium compared to the surrounding area 
  • Parents with school age children in the UK are prepared to pay on average an extra £26,860 on top of the property price to live in a desirable catchment area
  • To secure a property in a desired catchment area, 20 per cent of families had to downsize, while 24 per cent had to take on extra hours at work to afford it and a quarter of parents saw their commuting costs increase significantly

New research1 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 school2. 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 price3 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.3

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 as 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.

Regional findings:
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.

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*


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*





South East




North East




Yorks & Humber




East Midlands








East of England




West Midlands








North West




South West




N. Ireland








Source: Santander Mortgages, 2018

For more information on Santander’s mortgages and other products please visit: www.santander.co.uk/personal/mortgages


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 based on data from the Department for Education for top 100 secondary schools based on the percentage of pupils achieving five or more A*-C/9-4 (including English & maths) GCSE grades in summer 2017. Postcode analysis compares the sale price for properties in the school’s postcode district (e.g. KT2) versus the wider postcode area (e.g. KT).
  2. Research of 4,009 UK adults conducted by Opinium Research, 10th -17th July 2018.
  3. Based on current UK average property price of £226,351257. The current average property price for London is £481,556. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-house-price-index-summary-may-2018/uk-house-price-index-summary-may-2018

* Regions except for London and the South East have a low base so should be viewed as indicative only

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