Effect of School Catchment Areas on Property Prices in Scotland

Everyone wants the best education for their children. Finding a home in the catchment area of one of the better schools is a priority for many parents and, as a result, properties in these areas tend to attract a premium. According to recent research from the Bank of Scotland, buyers need to pay an average of £72,973 or 36% more to live in the catchment area of a top performing state secondary school in Scotland.

Average property prices have reached £277,134 near Scotland’s top 20 state secondary schools. The premium paid for living near to a top performing state secondary school has increased from £41,441 last year.

The Bank states that the difference is due to a change in the mix of schools in the top 20 in the past year, with a number of new schools in relatively more expensive areas in the latest survey. There are now four postal areas with a premium of over £120,000 compared to just one last year: Hyndland Secondary School in Glasgow at £121,090, Cults Academy in Aberdeen at £121,205 and James Gillespie’s High School at £173,783 and Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh at £137,801.

Graham Blair, mortgages director at Bank of Scotland, said: “When buying a home, many parents want their children to be close to a top performing school, and school catchment house price premiums generally tend to align to where we already know property is more expensive, for example, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow. With the mix of top schools changing so much from last year, there is a risk that parents focused on school catchment areas could spend money on a property, only for the nearby school to drop out of the top performing list in the coming years. Therefore, they may benefit more from buying in an area where the schools are consistently in top 20 but house prices trade at more of a discount.”

However getting into a top state school doesn’t always come at a premium. Within the top 20 schools, five catchment areas remain where homes cost less than the average property in the same local authority (down from eight in 2017). The best performing of these is St Ninian’s High School in East Renfrewshire, which is rated fourth, and where house prices cost on average £259,024, 2% less than the rest of the local authority. Also among the five are Bishopbriggs Academy (-19%), Lenzie Academy (-23%) and Turnbull High School (-19%) all in East Dunbartonshire, and Woodfarm High School (-2) in East Renfrewshire.

Increase in House Values in Key Catchment Areas

The research also shows that those who bought a home within the catchment area of a now top performing school five years ago will have seen the value of their home increase by 30% or £64,034 on average over that time period. Back in 2013, the average house price was £213,101.

The biggest growth over the last five years was in the catchment area for James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh where house prices have risen on average from £271,020 to £424,647 (57%). This is followed by homes near to Jordanhill School in Glasgow, increasing from £110,018 to £165,082 (50%) and those surrounding Douglas Academy in East Dunbartonshire which have moved from £209,383 to £304,500 (45%) on average.

Edinburgh Schools and Catchment Areas

Edinburgh is the UK’s most attractive city to live and work in, according to a study commissioned by Royal Mail earlier this year, and the Scottish capital came first on access to education. So, where should you start looking if you want to know more about schools in Edinburgh and their catchment areas?

MOV8’s article regarding school catchment areas provides some useful information and you may also want to have a look at the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Government and Parentzone Scotland websites.

If you want more information about any aspect of buying a property in Scotland, call our 0345 646 0208 (Option 2) or email [email protected] and our expert team of purchase negotiators will be delighted to discuss this with you.

If you are thinking of selling your home or investment property, get in touch with us by calling 0345 646 0208 (Option 1) or by emailing [email protected] to organise a free valuation of your home or to get a full, transparent breakdown of the costs of selling your home.


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