Proximity to popular schools driving demand for homes

Written by Angus Raine in New South Wales on December 11, 2012

With the start of 2013 fast approaching, families with ambitions to send their children to some of Sydney’s most popular schools are going to greater lengths to secure a home to meet strict enrolment qualification criteria.


Evidence from the Raine & Horne property network shows more parents are adding ‘proximity to a good school’ to their wish list of home features.  While I admit this is not a new trend, it seems that since the introduction of the ‘My School’ website a few years ago, it is now easier for parents to compare the performance and progress of almost 10,000 schools in Australia.

As a result, properties located within the catchment areas of schools scoring high academic rankings are in demand.


Parramatta region reaps the benefits

Sydney’s Parramatta region, boasts many highly ranked schools, including Parramatta High School and Carlingford West Public School, while Westmead Public was recently selected as a Centre for Excellence for 2011-2012, for its outstanding academic growth and achievement over the past five years.

According to Lisa Surian, Director and Sales Consultant at Raine & Horne Parramatta, good family homes in selective school catchment areas don’t usually come up for sale all that often in Parramatta, but when they do, they are extremely popular.

Ms Surian says that buyers who find the right home near the school of their choice, tend to bid more enthusiastically for a property.

For example, Raine & Horne Parramatta recently sold 2 Dawes Place, Cherrybrook, for $695,888.

“The property lies in the Cherrybrook Technology High School catchment area and when it was listed, every man and his dog came to see it, before it sold to a family who wanted to be local to the school,” says Ms Surian.


Families willing to pay a premium

Enrolling in the right school is also a driver for real estate buyers on the North Shore, where Hugh Macfarlan, Principal of Raine & Horne Chatswood/Willoughby, says strict school enrolment policies have contributed to premiums for homes located within school catchment areas.

“Due to a bottleneck of enrolments in North Shore schools, some, such as Roseville Public School, only enrol children living within the designated catchment area,” said Mr Macfarlan.

“As a result, homes situated in these catchment areas are very popular with families.”

Apart from academic reputation, some parents also look to live close to schools with a specialist focus.

In Sydney’s south-west, for instance, sporting families set their sights on Westfields Sports High School.

“Many families visiting listings in nearby Fairfield West and Wakeley regularly ask whether a home is in the Westfields Sports High catchment,” says Carlo Mattiuzzo, Co-Principal of Raine & Horne Fairfield.

With a high profile list of past students including cricket superstar Michael Clarke and soccer great Harry Kewell, Westfields Sports High School has become one of NSW’s premier schools for those parents looking to give their offspring a sporting edge.

“The school’s catchment is popular with both buyers and renters, and we regularly notice how demand for property in the catchment heats up towards the end of the year, when school enrolments start to close,” says Mr Mattiuzzo.

“Leading into the Christmas break, families are bidding enthusiastically on three bedroom properties, especially if it has a backyard that can support a whole team of young cricketing or football superstars,” says Mr Mattiuzzo.