Top schools fuel house price hike

AGOOD education can cost parents more than just tuition fees. Trends show that top performing schools drive house prices in their local neighbourhoods by nearly a third more than the national average. Little wonder, then, that developers are constructing luxury schemes in these sought-after areas.

Wimbledon Hill Park is going down well with parents keen to enroll children in independent schools like Kings College, Wimbledon High and Wimbledon Chase primary school. The development offers eight traditional and contemporary executive family homes, with prices starting from £3.5m.

Fifteen minutes south of the river is Riverside Quarter, a new development in Wandsworth, which offers 121 two to four bedroom apartments at prices starting from £500,000. The £100m development is a big draw for buyers looking to be near high-performing schools like Putney High, Emanuel School and Graveney, despite the premiums.

In the south east, prices near top schools are 37 per cent higher than neighbouring areas and north London is another location that has seen prices rise in response to the strongly performing schools in the area. Homes near Henrietta Barnett School, for example, trade at a premium of £394,282, a huge hike on the prices of properties in neighbouring areas. “This could be because external influences on house prices here are much stronger and high population density means there’s more competition for homes in London, even without the lure of living near a top primary school,” says Prime Location’s Nigel Lewis.

On the whole, London has experienced this trend noticeably less than other regions. Homes near good schools in the capital are, on average, only 7.4 per cent more expensive, the lowest such premium in the UK overall.

According to a report by Lloyds TSB house prices in the postcodes of the 30 state schools with the highest 2011 GCSE results in the country were £33,631 higher than average, or 12 per cent higher than prices in neighbouring locations. That amounts to house premiums nearly three times the average annual private school fee of £11,422. Overall, the typical price of a home in the postal districts of England’s best state schools is £303,902, nearly a third higher than the average house price across England of £236,321.

Outside London, developers continue to build schemes aimed at ambitious parents. Less than half an hour’s drive from Harrow sits the King’s Island development, home to Peterborough and St. Margaret’s School. The gated island community is comprised of 24 three and four-bedroom conversion and new-build family homes, as well as 127 one and two bedroom conversion and new build apartments and penthouses. Prices go from £201,995 to £669,995 for properties on the development, which is located on the former William King Flour Mill site. Meanwhile the Grand Union Canal and River Colne border the property, which is situated amidst the Middlesex countryside and Uxbridge.

Regionally, the north west has the largest premium, with houses in postal districts of the top ten state schools trading at an average of 28 per cent, or £43,437 above the average house price in the county. In second place is the north, with house prices near the top schools at close to a fifth higher than their county average.

At the same time, districts for top schools in the south west trade homes at a 16 per cent discount compared to neighbouring locations, such districts in the East Midlands trade at a six per cent discount.