London parents desperate to be in the right catchment areas for top-rated primary schools have driven local property prices up by more than £80,000 above other districts with less successful state schools, says a report published today.
With a quarter of parents selecting a home specifically for the quality of the local school, there is now a 13 per cent price premium on living close to a primary rated “outstanding” by the Ofsted education watchdog.
The average price of a home in the catchment area of a primary rated “good” by Ofsted is £659,397, while homes close to schools which “require improvement” average £598,054.
WHAT PRICE FOR A TOP PERFORMER?
The most expensive “outstanding” school to live close to is Bousfield Primary School, in Kensington, where homes have an average asking price of more than £2.25 million.
Homes within the catchment of Soho Parish CofE Primary Schoolhave an average asking price of almost £2.2 million, while those near St Barnabas and St Philip’s CofE Primary School, again in Kensington, cost just over £2 million.
Most expensive areas near outstanding schools:
|School||Borough||Ofsted rating||Average asking price|
|Bousfield Primary School||Kensington & Chelsea||1||£2,254,706|
|Soho Parish CofE Primary School||Westminster||1||£2,158,301|
|St Barnabas and St Philip’s CofE Primary School||Kensington & Chelsea||1||£2,006,270|
|Ark King Solomon Academy||Westminster||1||£1,656,807|
|Hadley Wood Primary School||Enfield||1||£1,621,068|
There are considerably more affordable alternatives for parents to consider that are also in the catchment of top-performing schools. The most affordable location in London is in the hinterland of Castilion Primary School, Thamesmead, where the average asking price of homes is £247,284.
Homes close to nearby Hawksmoor School, which also has an “outstanding” Ofsted report, have an average asking price of £248,786.
Just across the Thames, in Barking, Thames View Infantsis another affordable “outstanding” option, with average local prices of £273,459.
Buyers willing to live right on the fringes of London could consider Broadford Primary School, close to the new Crossrail station at Harold Wood in north-east London, where the average asking price is £294,558.Heading west, homes in the catchment of Feltham Hill Infant and Nursery School, in Middlesex, have an asking price of £314,774.
“An Ofsted ‘outstanding’ school will often have a remarkably small catchment area as parents clamour to buy what they perceive to be a stake in their child’s future,” says Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co estate agents. “The effect of families buying around desirable schools produces ever-narrowing catchment areas.”
MOVING IN BEFORE THE BIRTH
Many parents, adds Leaf, take an early approach to moving to an area with a good local school — sometimes even before their children are born.
Other mums and dads simply try to cheat the system by renting a property in the catchment area, while keeping the family home elsewhere. But schools are becoming increasingly wise to this trick.
The high cost of homes close to top primaries means some families will compromise on the property to be near their school of choice. “Park Hill Junior School in Croydon is so popular that we are now selling two- to three-bedroom maisonettes to families willing to sacrifice a garden to buy within the catchment,” says Ian Vernon, senior associate at Bairstow Eves. Though the premium to live by an “outstanding” primary school is steep, it pales into insignificance compared with rising private school fees in London. Currently at £15,828 a year, a private primary education for two children could end up costing their parents almost £200,000.
TOP SCHOOLS IN COMMUTER HOTSPOTS
Mark Rimell, a partner in Strutt & Parker’s national country house department, says top schools also create commuter belt price hotspots. Across the South-East, homes close to “outstanding” schools are £71,979 more expensive than those near schools that “require improvement”, partly due to an outflow of Londoners looking for excellent educational standards.
“I moved from Clapham to Hertfordshire for this very reason,” says Rimell. “I wanted better schools with larger grounds that would give my kids a better education and a higher quality of life.”