When you are looking to move home you will be faced with a multitude of decisions which will affect the type of home you are looking to purchase, its layout, the age of the property as well as the relative closeness to all of the local facilities that are important to you and your family. Above all else, if you have children of school age, living in the right area so that you fall within the best school’s catchment area, is not simply a requirement, but an essential part of your moving plans.
Reviewing school performance tables
Some parents will spend just as much time looking over and assessing school results and reviews as they will the distances to work, motorways and airports. When it comes to searching an online property service or using the old-fashioned method of visiting estate agents on the high street, it will not be a coincidence that properties that are caught within the catchment area of the better schools will always be priced slightly higher than properties around the schools that no one particularly wishes to attend.
In smaller towns where there is a far smaller choice of schools at all age levels, property values may not be affected by the quality of the school because the competition to live in a particular area does not exist. In larger towns and cities where there is an abundance of school choices, the difference in property values will be reflected by the location of the property in the catchment area around the schools.
Are better schools simply in better areas?
There is an element of truth in that some of the better schools are influenced by the areas in which they are located. In many circumstances, the preferential choice of schools – before results and tables were particularly important in the way that the government reviewed their educational establishments – the best schools almost always appear to be located where higher value properties dominated the area. There are more larger properties closer to the higher quality schools and conversely more council housing and rented properties closer to the failing schools. There are always exceptions to this rule, but where it is difficult to gain a place in a particular school; house prices in that area are generally higher than comparable locations.
The supply of places and the demand for these certainly drive prices higher in the housing market. There will always be a combination of reasons why similar properties are priced differently due to their location and the choice of a particular school is one of many different factors that are taking into account by purchasers, sellers and estate agents.
By understanding the basic laws of economics concerning supply and demand, many homeowners are prepared to pay a slightly higher value for a property when it falls within the right school district, but this also has a knock-on effect for when they decide to sell the property and move elsewhere, because they will retain its extra value as it will have remained a good investment for the area.
Choosing the right school for your children is extremely important, especially with the high levels of competition that is available in the modern world, but it may be sensible to look at a range of decisions that help you choose the right property as well as the local community when choosing your next home. After all, there is no point in stretching yourself too far to be able to purchase a home in the right area, only to have to move out and upset your children’s schooling when finances become too difficult.
Chris Jenkinson of MUS enjoys finding the right real estate.