School zones and how to buy near them

Written by Douglas Ross in Buying on December 12, 2016

School zones and how to buy near them

School zones are sort of like a giant spider’s web. It is up to you, budding investor of property, to navigate this web. The more you explore this vast network the more you will see how much schools influence property prices.

School zones for the Mums and Dads

The best way to find out if the school that you’re interested in has capped enrollments is by getting in contact with them. Yet, the best way to make sure your kids can attend these schools is by moving within their zone. Twelve months is the required time that you must inhabit a zone before a school can accept your child. Because of this, parents have begun to swap private education fees for buying in zones with high performing public schools. And as a sign of things to come, they are often doing this long before their kids attend school.

Median sale prices on the fringe of zones compared to those in zones reveals what is happening in the market. A twelve-month analysis conducted by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) between 2015 and 2016 revealed that Northern Parkville in Melbourne’s inner-north had the biggest gap in median house prices due to the presence of University High. Homes that spread around a one-kilometre radius of the Northern Parkville zone had a median house price $596,000 less than those houses inside the zone.

For markets that are seeing huge growth, school rankings are more than ever linked with market prices. For parents this means it is harder to get into certain suburbs while requiring a large amount of planning years ahead of when they intend to send their kids to school.

One way parents can get over this hurdle is to consider leasing their home and renting in their desired zone. As long as they live in the zone for at least twelve months, this can be a manageable way to send their kids to strong-performing public schools.

Tip: avoid lying about your zone to get into a school. Schools are under significant pressure and are aware of this practice.

School zones for the investors in the room

Investors and home owners can take advantage of this link. Home owners should know what schools sit in their zone and value their property based not only on existing school performance but on projected success. Find out what developments schools in your zone have planned. Read their published annual reports to understand their financial history and projections and use this information to plan the future of your investment.

For those looking to invest, schools are an integral part of your research. REIV’s 2015/16 analysis revealed the top three Melbourne zones with sale price gaps as $596,000 for University High School, $305,000 for McKinnon Secondary College and $150,000 for Cheltenham Secondary College. Clever investing will come from identifying zones that may have up-and-coming schools or finding areas that due to population growth or demographic shifts will need to invest in schooling in the next 5-10 years. Invest with an idea of not just what the suburb is now, but what it is sure to be in the long term.

For those looking to sell in a zone with high performing schools, think about featuring this information. Marketing this feature will help people who want this to find your listing online. In the end it may help drive the price up. Because of these pricing trends this information will attract not just families but shrewd investors.