What impact do school catchment areas have on property prices? - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views
Real Estate


You may have noticed that when a house is being sold that’s well suited to a family and within a sought-after school catchment area, the real estate agency will often highlight this as a key location feature in the marketing material.

If buyers with a child or multiple children, can secure a property that is within access of an excellent public school, it can literally save them tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars – that would otherwise potentially have to be spent on private school fees.

So, there’s no doubt that if a property is located within a highly sought-after school catchment area, some buyers are prepared to pay a premium for it, in order to access free public education.

We have seen certain areas with particularly well-regarded and high-ranking public schools, where a guaranteed spot at the school becomes a critical factor in the home they wish to buy, and if you have enough buyers attracted to one area and limited stock, it can drive up the suburbs median price quite significantly.

In addition to free education, there were various reasons people were buying, renting and investing in properties within school catchment areas.

It’s no surprise that properties with close proximity to amenities are generally in demand, as people like to enjoy a lifestyle with convenience – and for parents with school children, living within a school zone could certainly make the daily drop offs and picks ups more efficient. It also saves on public transport costs if children are within walking distance of home.

There’s also a degree of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ with parents wishing to send their children to schools with a good reputation and a perceived higher quality of education.

From an investment perspective, a property within a highly sought-after school catchment area, makes good sense for longer term tenant security. Due to the number of years children spend at school, it stands to reason that properties within well regarded school catchment areas are tightly held as families generally wish to stay put for the duration of their children’s schooling.

Many families choose to rent within their desired school catchment area instead of buying, and again, they are more likely to be long-term tenants – an attractive proposition for investors.

Some families are also “rentvesting” – investing in a property elsewhere at a more affordable price point in order to get on the property ladder, while still securing their school spot by renting a property within that catchment.

Weighing up the impact on price
While it’s true that median house prices have risen across most high-ranking school catchment areas in Queensland, it’s important not to draw an exclusive connection between a suburb’s median house price and its corresponding school catchment area. Price growth, after all, comes down to a number of contributing factors and market forces.

Another factor to consider is that highly-regarded public schools are often well-established, having built a reputation over a number of years. As a general rule, schools are not emerging suddenly and creating new demand for their suburb overnight. There are also instances where school catchment areas are amended and the boundaries are moved meaning a property that once fell into one school, now belongs to another. However again, this won’t happen overnight, properties in the impacted area are likely to be given ample notice of the upcoming catchment area change.

In the end, for families looking to buy and occupy properties within their desired school catchment area, it’s about weighing up what free, quality education and convenience is worth to them, and being prepared to pay that price to secure one.