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How School Catchment Zones are Changing Property Prices

Each year the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) releases its estimate on the future costs of education. CANSTAR investigates these changes, and the impact they have on catchment zones.

For a child born in 2016, ASG estimates that the national average cost of getting them to the end of Year 12 will be just over $66,000 for a public school, $230,000 for a systemic school, and a whopping $468,000 for a private school education in a metropolitan area. Costs differ from state to state and region to region of course, but they are all eye-watering numbers.

The difference in cost between a public and systemic or private education is no doubt a reason why many home buyers are keen to know the school catchment area of houses they are considering. This is a need that online real estate site Domain is tapping into, with its school zone information on real estate listings services, which lists the catchment areas for over 4,000 public schools all over Australia.

Domain Executive Editor Stephen Nicholls said agents say the difference between purchasing a house on one side of the street and the other can be 10% more, based purely on schooling. There can be much more than a 10% difference if buyers are fighting over specific properties at auction.

With the most recent statistics from the Bendigo Bank-REIA Real Estate Market Facts calculating a weighted average median house price of $658,608, up 2.4% from 2015, it’s not surprising that families are choosing their homes based on the performance of their local public school. On a national scale, a 10% increase in purchase price to attend a terrific public school could potentially represent a big saving!

Damon Pezaro, the Product Director of Domain, said that the issue of school catchments zones is very important for many home buyers.

“From ongoing research and conversations with home-buyers and agents alike, the importance of school catchment zones reappeared as a theme when searching for property,” he said.

“We have had overwhelming positive feedback direct from the Domain audience as well as from agents (since the launch of our school zone service in 2015).

“This has been reflected on social media sites discussing how useful the product offering, is as well as by major media outlets writing about the impact that school zones could have on the price of a house.”

How do school costs match house prices?

Looking at data on both the recent median house price in metro areas around Australia, as well as the ASG future education cost calculations, would a 10% premium in house price represent a saving in education costs? Potentially yes, if parents made the decision to stick with a public school over a systemic or private school as a result of being in the right catchment.

City Median House Price 10% extra Difference in cost of public & systemic education
Sydney $929,850 $93,000 $148,000
Brisbane $475,000 $47,500 $188,000
Adelaide $425,250 $42,500 $196,500
Perth $535,000 $53,500 $173,900
Melbourne $688,000 $68,800 $146,200
Hobart $382,500 $38,300 $157,800

Source: Based on REIA median house price data, March 2016 quarter & ASG 2016 Planning for Education Index.

The above calculations are of course very general – house prices vary from property to property and school costs vary from school to school. Nevertheless, it is food for thought…

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