Understanding School Catchment Areas

Added on May 26th 2022

School catchment areas have an oft-ignored but close relationship with the UK’s property market, with the nation’s parents clamouring to buy a home within the glow of a good or outstanding Ofsted report.

Do school catchment areas actually affect UK property prices?

In a word, yes. House prices are influences by the schools in their area as parents are prepared to pay a premium to get their children into good or outstanding schools. Some reports have found that properties in the catchment of an outstanding school can fetch as much as 13% more than similar properties outside the area.

In London, the average price of a property in the catchment area of an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ school is £678,595. Properties in a ‘good’ catchment area have an average price of £659,397 while homes near a school with a ‘needs improvement’ rating are under £600,000 at an average of £598,054.

A good catchment area can protect property values

Not only does the proximity of a great school cause property prices to rise, but it also helps to keep them aloft during hard or uncertain times. It’s not just parents who prefer to live near a good school; the whole community does. A good or outstanding school tends to act as an ambassador for the area, as it’s a reflection of its pupils and their families. 

A poorly-performing school is also seen as a reflection, but not in quite the same way and it’s this “halo effect” that can keep house prices buoyant or depressed for quite some time.

Finding out more about your local school catchment areas

It should only take a few minutes to Google the catchment areas for the neighbourhood you’re interested in. You should also visit the individual schools’ websites to find the results of their latest Ofsted inspections, as well as find out if there are any other entrance requirements. 

A good estate agent will also take the Ofsted ratings of each school in their area into their hearts, so don’t be afraid to ask about a particular postcode and its school catchment status!


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