School catchment areas are important to home buyers!

Proximity to good schools is shaping up as an important issue for home buyers, and it’s a factor that can underpin the capital growth of a property even in slow market conditions.

Across the country, house hunters are selecting where to buy based on the schools their children can get in to. Seeing a house hunter carrying a school catchment map that indicates the cut-off points for school zones is not an uncommon sight.

Tim (33) and his wife recently purchased their first property in the North Sydney suburb of Dee Why. They have a two year old son and Tim is happy to admit that buying close to a good school was a factor in their decision.

“We found a place in Dee Why that was in a location that would enable our son to be eligible for a primary school just ten minutes north. We had been told about the school through a friend and discovered that it has a very good reputation.”

A school’s proximity to a property can be a vital selling point for real estate agents, with many young parents prepared to pay extra for the privilege of getting their young one into a certain establishment. Websites that issue scores to individual schools such as are helping to increase the demand for property.

Recent data from Australian Property Monitors showed that for the top-20 ranked primary schools in Sydney, the catchment area for 17 of them had experienced price growth over the past year compared with the Sydney median house price, which slumped 1.6 per cent over the same period.

Tim says he had never heard of the MySchool website, but admits to having done his own research.

“We were looking for a very long time for an apartment all over the Northern Beaches and this one was probably slightly out of our price range. But because we knew from our friends that it was near a good school that Sam could get into, it really just sealed the deal for us.”