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October 26, 2021
Information published was correct at the time of writing


Every parent wants to give their child the best possible start in life and that includes making sure they have access to a top education. Proximity to local school services is usually one of the first things to be included on an estate agent’s sales particulars, often appearing before other important details such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and reception rooms. Research shows that parents will go to great lengths to make sure that their children can attend the school of their choice, including paying thousands more for a school in the right catchment area.

For parents, proximity to good schools is among the leading factors. The research highlights that parents have rated this more important than proximity to friends and family or good transport links. Not only is proximity to the best schools a deciding factor for potential buyers, but it can also persuade them to spend more. But how much more will people pay to live close to a school? What if that school has a strong reputation compared to others in the area? What influence does a good Ofsted rating have on local property values?

According to the research, more than one-quarter of parents are willing to pay more for a property that is within the catchment area of the school they want their children to attend. How much more they were willing to pay varied, but the average response was over £20,000.

Potential buyers have a range of different requirements when searching for a new home, with some specific to the property itself (such as the floor area, number of bedrooms and space for parking) and some related to the location and local area (such as the commute time to work, access to green space and proximity to family). But for parents, getting their child into the right school is a bigger concern than you might think. The research reveals that 22% of parents start to think about schooling shortly after the birth of their child, and 13% start even earlier, either when they fall pregnant or even when they begin planning their family.

While there is no doubt that the school catchment premium exists, it varies considerably from year to year. The data shows that in 2018 parents were willing to pay a premium of 15% (£51,600) on top of the property value if the location was within the catchment area of one of the UK’s top 100 state secondary schools. Data from 2019 suggests that this fell to 5% (£19,500). It is fair to assume that the premium varies not only from year to year but also from school to school. Certain properties in the UK may still be attracting a much higher premium based on their proximities to schools deemed the best in the area.

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