School catchment areas (sometimes referred to as Priority Admission Areas) are an often overlooked driver of the UK property market. Having a brilliant school nearby can benefit more than just parents seeking the best for their child; they can also help push local property prices up in the good times and protect the value of your home during a downturn.

As many of you will no doubt be aware, buying property is a solid investment, and one which easily beats the likes of stocks and shares when it comes to stability. This is especially true in unstable climates such as the one we are currently experiencing, but it’s still not without risk. Therefore, it’s always prudent to seek out as many positives as one can when buying a home, and school catchment areas should be one such box you tick off during your search.

Do school catchment areas really affect property prices?

Years ago, the discussion surrounding the connection between property prices and schools was largely the preserve of middle class dinner parties, but not anymore. Studies have been conducted exploring the phenomenon, and the proof is out there for all to see - house prices are affected by the schools which surround them.

Recent reports state that around 25 per cent of parents choose their home mainly on the quality of the local school. It’s little wonder, then, that a primary school which has been rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted can command as much as a 13 per cent premium over other properties which fall just outside of its catchment area.

In London, the average property price of a home within the catchment area of an ‘outstanding’ primary school will fetch £678,595. Those with a rating of ‘good’ are valued at £659,397, while schools labeled with ‘require improvement’ will command a price tag of £598,054.

The protection factor

As we have already alluded to, school catchment areas can offer a decent degree of protection too. Not only will homes within the best school’s boundaries command a greater price, they’ll also outperform other areas during times when the property market may be suffering a little.

The attraction of living near a decent school is felt by more than just parents. Good schools are seen as beacons for the local community, whereas bad ones are often seen as a blight. Therefore, it makes sense that homes within the catchment areas of better schools will always remain in demand, which in turn helps stabilise their price regardless of what the wider market may be doing.

Can the housing market affect schools?

While much may be made about how schools can affect property prices, what about the housing market affecting schools? There may not be much of difference felt by highly-regarded state schools, but private schools can definitely be affected by the way the property market is performing at any given time.

Fewer people moving can mean fewer parents applying for places in schools which would otherwise be in high demand. While this may be a concern for the school’s bursar, for parents it can present an opportunity to send their child to a school that would ordinarily be oversubscribed...providing said parents have the cash to both move and pay school fees, of course.

Conversely, a buoyant housing market will see school places in short supply, which emphasises the point that both schools and housing are very closely connected.  

Finding out more about school catchment areas

A quick Google search will usually tell you all you need to know when it comes to finding priority admission areas. Essex residents can view theirs here, while those who live in London can check out the Mayor’s Schools Atlas for more information on education in their area.

Calling the school you’re interested in will obviously give you an even greater insight into your chances of getting a place and the requirements needed. Speaking to other parents in the local area will help you decide if the school is a good fit for your child, and even local social media groups can be a great source of information when it comes to an area’s educational facilities.

We are extremely lucky to have numerous high-quality schools in and around Buckhurst Hill and Wanstead, and we’d be delighted to discuss your move to the area. Give our friendly agents a call today to find out what East London and West Essex has to offer both you and your child.

Wanstead office – 020 8989 2091 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Buckhurst Hill office - 020 8504 5403 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Lettings office - 020 8989 2091 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

school catchment areas what are they and how do they affect property prices