As the new school year approaches parents are worrying about whether their children will have the right exams to get into university or sixth form. They will also be worrying about their younger children getting a place in the best schools in their area.
More often or not concerned parents will seriously consider moving to a house in the catchment area of their school of choice to secure a place there for their child.
According to new research from Santander Mortgages, one in four (24 per cent) parents with school age children have either bought or rented a new property in order to secure an address within their desired school catchment area.
The study also found that those families willing to move are prepared to spend a 12 per cent premium for their desired catchment area, equivalent to an extra £26,800 in the current property market. This is just under the average full-time salary in the UK, which currently stands at £28,213.
In the Eastern region however, 12 per cent of parents have bought or rented in the catchment area of their preferred school. The premium buyers have paid for a house in these areas.
Parents are going to great lengths to be within these sought-after catchment areas, with their sacrifices going far beyond financial. A fifth (20 per cent) of those who moved changed jobs, while 20 per cent say they were forced to downsize and 19 per cent moved to an area where they did not feel safe. One in four (25 per cent) admit they overstretched themselves, paying more for the property than they could realistically afford and 26 per cent moved to a location that was far away from family or friends.
The bank’s study suggests that the moves made by many of these families are temporary, with only 26 per cent planning to continue living in the area once their child leaves school. More than four in 10 (44 per cent) of those who moved to be within a catchment area said they will leave as soon as their child has secured a place.
Amongst families who have moved to be within their desired catchment area, 51 per cent said they had sold their previous property and purchased a new one within their chosen area. Three in 10 (30 per cent) said they purchased a second home in the catchment area, while 19 per cent secured their desired address by renting a property.
This trend looks set to continue as 40 per cent of parents who expect to move home before their children leave school say catchment areas will dictate where they choose to live.
Miguel Sard, managing director of mortgages, Santander UK said: “Living within a certain school catchment area is top of the wish list for many families but often these addresses come at a premium. Our study highlights the significant financial and lifestyle sacrifices that parents are making to be within the catchment area of a desired school.
“Buyers need to do their research as properties in catchment areas often come with a hefty price tag, especially in London where competition for school places is fierce. We urge parents not to over-stretch themselves, but to find a mortgage provider that not only offers competitive rates and products but also has the expertise to ensure that the right deal is secured and the repayments are affordable.”