05.03.2023 Buying Tips

The School Zone Effect

The School Zone Effect

New figures reveal the relationship between growth in house prices and proximity to a good school.

A good education can set your child up for life. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that children’s education can be a major factor for many people when it comes to deciding where to buy a home.

That means proximity to good schools and being just as desirable for many home buyers as features such as beaches, parkland, amenities or transport. Now, Domain’s 2023 School Zones Report reveals that house prices in more than two-thirds of government school catchment zones across Australia rose last year, in some areas, by as much as almost 30%.

How are school catchment areas influencing property prices in Sydney?

Domain’s report shows that school intake areas can play a significant role in house price fluctuations here in Sydney, with many buyers prepared to pay top dollar to make sure their children attend a quality local school. The figures reveal that house prices rose in 66% of Sydney’s primary school catchments and 69% of high school intake zones in 2022. But house price growth did vary between neighbouring catchments. For example, the Woollahra Public School catchment saw house prices grow by 3.0% while neighbouring Waverley Public School dropped by 1.5%.

Suburb vs school catchment area

While we often think of property prices as determined by suburbs, government school catchment areas can create their own micro real estate markets. The boundaries of an intake area for an in-demand public school, which cross and cut through suburb limits, can cause property values to fluctuate from one street to the next. In fact, property values in almost half of Australian school catchment zones rose faster than those of the suburbs in which they are located, with most experiencing up to 10% extra growth. In Sydney, 46% of primary and 44% of secondary school catchments saw annual house price growth that surpassed that of their respective suburbs, with 88% of primary and 95% of secondary school intake areas experiencing up to 10% more growth than the suburb in which they are located.

The Financial Review reports that certain school areas saw an even greater growth rate, including some here in the eastern suburbs. House prices within the catchment for Bellevue Hill Public School jumped by 20.2%, compared with a more modest 1.7% increase for the suburb of Bellevue Hill itself.

Does proximity to private schools influence property prices?

Sydney’s eastern suburbs are home to some of Australia’s best-performing and most sought-after primary and secondary schools. Some of them are public, while others are private. Census 2021 data shows that about half of primary school-aged children living in the eastern suburbs attend a government school, while the other half go to Catholic and other non-government schools. When it comes to secondary school, non-government schools are the most popular (7,192 students), followed by Catholic (4,041) and then public (3,356). We may see the number of students attending government schools rise as cost-of-living pressures constrain family budgets.

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School catchment zones are obviously important for those eastern suburbs families sending their children to public schools, but does location matter when it comes to private schools? In a word, yes. Living close to school (ideally within walking distance) is highly desirable for all families with school-aged children, regardless of whether they choose the public or private school system. Parents know that living close to school can help support their children’s emotional well-being by allowing them to participate in social and extracurricular activities and be a part of their school community. That’s why, just like government school intake areas, proximity to a private school can boost a home’s value.

High-performing Eastern suburbs schools

These eastern suburbs primary schools were ranked 99 or above by Better Education, based on 2022 results.

Eastern suburbs primary schools

  • Sydney Grammar School Edgecliff Preparatory, Paddington (100)
  • Woollahra Public School, Woollahra (100)
  • Ascham School, Edgecliff (100)
  • Kambala, Rose Bay (100)
  • McAuley Catholic Primary School, Rose Bay (99)
  • Claremont College, Randwick (99)
  • Reddam House, Woollahra (99)
  • St Agnes’ School, Matraville (99)
  • Cranbrook School, Bellevue Hill (99)
  • Montessori East, Bondi (99)
  • Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School, Kensington (99)
  • Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School, Randwick (99)

These Eastern suburbs secondary schools were ranked 97 or above by Better Education, based on 2022 results.

Eastern suburbs secondary schools

  • Sydney Girls High School, Surry Hills (100)
  • Sydney Boys High School, Surry Hills (100)
  • Sydney Grammar School, Darlinghurst (100)
  • Reddam House, Woollahra (99)
  • Ascham School, Edgecliff (99)
  • SCEGGS Darlinghurst, Darlinghurst (98)
  • Cranbrook School, Bellevue Hill (98)
  • The International French School of Sydney, Maroubra (97)
  • St Catherine’s School, Waverley (97)
  • Kambala, Rose Bay (97)
  • Emanuel School, Randwick (97)

Looking for a new home close to a certain eastern suburbs school?

Eastern suburbs primary and secondary school catchment areas can be researched on the NSW government’s School Finder website, while Domain lets you search for houses to buy by school catchment area. It’s worth noting that school intake zones sometimes change, for example, when a new school is built. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the state government is investigating the need for a new public high school in the eastern suburbs.

If you’re looking for a new home in a particular eastern suburbs school catchment area or want to maximise your home’s school intake zone as part of your sale campaign, get in touch with our team today.