School zones and property prices

Written by in Buying on July 19, 2016

It’s no secret the country’s top schools are in high demand, but how does Australia’s most sought after schools affect housing prices?

School zones or catchments, are a restriction applied to the enrolment and the number of students a school can take, to a particular area or zone around the actual school. This means that certain schools can only take students from a specific neighbourhood area based on your permanent residential address is.

New Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) data shows that homes located within the catchment area for some of Melbourne’s best public secondary schools are fetching close to a $600,000 premium compared to those outside the zone.

In 2016, the median house price of properties in Victoria with more than two-bedrooms in desirable public school zones is significantly higher than the median price of similar homes that border the zone.

REIV CEO Geoff White said access to high-quality amenities and services – particularly schooling and education – is a key driver of price growth across Melbourne.

“Rather than paying private school fees, parents of school-aged children are increasingly investing that money in the family home and buying into areas zoned for top performing public schools,” he said.

“These areas also experience a high number of sales indicating the level of buyer demand within these zones.”

Similarly in Queensland, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) parents are buying into their desired zones many years before the children are being enrolled.

Rob Honeycombe, Chairman of the REIQ stated “this week we’ve had an enquiry from a couple in Sunnybank who want to get into the Brisbane State High catchment, their children are only now 7 and 8.”

“I guess it’s about the value of the brand, so these schools that have really built up their reputation that the families decide they really have to be a part of, that can add a lot to the value of a home.”

According to Australian School Rankings, the highest ranked schools are made up of four different tests consisting of reading, writing, language conventions and numeracy. In 2015, Balwyn, Burwood, Glen Iris, Ballarat, Canterbury and Berwick have the top 6 high schools based on these rankings in Victoria. According to the REIV median data, the average median housing price in these areas is over $1.4million. Compare this to Melbourne’s overall median for houses which is just $725,000, making the affordability of these areas in low.

In sunny Queensland Brisbane, Spring Hill and Mudgeeraba had the top 5 ranked high schools in 2015 and the REIQ median data shows the average median price is over $630,000, a little over the Brisbane city median price.