As the property market continues to improve, much is being made of the factors that can influence the value of a property – such as its proximity to a sought after school. For example the catchment areas of good state schools can command a 12%+ premium when compared to their county average, recent research has revealed.
Living close to where your child is being educated, has not always been as high a priority for some parents. However, given the wide varying education standards in the East Midlands, the pendulum is firmly starting to swing towards the location of a good school being a top priority for many home buyers with children.
Changing family needs
Clearly living close to a top performing school is always going to be an attractive proposition for family buyers; but at what cost? For those able to do so, the debate between funding an independent education or allocating money to buying a superior property in a good catchment area, is a frequent one, with no clear answer.
Family needs have dramatically changed over the last decade and allowing children to travel to school with friends or on a school bus has become more important, as parents juggle their increasingly demanding work commitments. Leaving work early or arriving to work late isn’t always an option for some parents.
With many schools offering extra-curricular activities before or after normal lessons and two or three siblings attending the same school, this can result in parents having to carry out multiple journeys to and from school as children of different ages with different interests finish at different times.
Parents that are working find this difficult to manage and in some cases have found the solution of living nearer to the school to be an attractive one. With a limited stock of ‘best of breed’ homes fitting these criteria, it is easy to see how premiums can be achieved for properties so close and convenient to the most favoured schools.
Finding the right location
Both the highly regarded King’s School in Peterborough and Bourne Grammar school are selective schools, so the ability of your child tends to take precedence over your postcode. However, when the inevitable oversubscription of bright and talented children occurs, suddenly the proximity to the school takes on a new meaning and finding that ideal home can be particularly difficult, and in some cases pricey.
The Stamford Endowment Schools run an extensive network of buses reaching as far as Newark, Stilton and Corby. Whilst this is enormously helpful for busy working parents, the ideal for many is still to be located within fifteen minutes drive and indeed, many families opt for walking distance where possible. In the wake of Stamford winning The Sunday Times title of ‘Best Place to Live in Britain’ popularity for the town has grown significantly. Competition for quality homes is fierce, underlined by a number of properties being sold in a competitive bidding situation, which has resulted in some ‘best of breed homes’ selling significantly over their asking price.
A number of villages outside Stamford offer excellent primary school provision; both Barnack and Ketton gained Outstanding ratings at their last inspections. Further a field, Langham CE Primary School achieved 91st place in The Sunday Times ‘Parents Power’ list (impressive given there are over 20,000 primary schools nationwide) and Whissendine CE Primary was named by Tatler as one of the top primary schools in the country.
The shortage of quality housing stock and pressure on school places means that parents need to give themselves plenty of time if considering a move nearer to a popular school. Now is the time to start making plans – even if you child does not start school until September 2015.
If you are considering moving home, get in touch with Garrington to learn more about how they can assist.