With September approaching schools and catchment areas are a hot topic. According to Savills the highest proportion of outstanding Ofsted rated schools in London are in Kensington and Chelsea followed closely by Richmond. Some buyers are willing to pay a premium of up to 40 per cent to be close to an outstanding school. These sorts of premiums are not just reserved for homes close to the top state schools – competition for homes within walking distance of the best private schools is also strong.
Philip Eastwood Partner at The Buying Solution says; “Living in London one is already paying a premium, this increases with access to good quality schools, the commute being a prime factor – if you are going to watch your children play sport on a Thursday night, you don’t want to be driving for over an hour – so even if there’s no fixed catchment area, there are still often competitive bidding wars near good schools. Interestingly though some private schools now even take ‘catchment areas’ into consideration, an example is Broomwood Hall on Wandsworth Common. They prefer their pupils to live within a select zone so that it’s easier for after school socialising and school runs.
Buyers take a long-term view and consider paying a ‘school premium’ as a good investment, not just for their children’s education but also in the belief there will be other people who also want to live in a catchment area and so the property will hold its value in a challenging market and the property will sell quicker if the market stalls, simply because there will always be parents willing to pay the premium for their children.”
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