One of the most common things that can affect your house price is where your house is located. As the old saying goes: “Location, location, location!” is a big part of what makes a property desirable (or undesirable). In this blog post, we’ll be talking about an unexpected way in which your house price can be affected – school catchment areas.

How does school catchment affect my house price?

As we have discussed previously, much of what drives house prices is desirability, and many people want to make sure they’re sending their children to a good school.

Around a quarter of people surveyed say they chose their home based on the quality of the nearest school. This makes sense for couples who are looking to start a family, or perhaps even already have a family – they want to ensure their children’s future is secured.

Catchment areas around Ofsted “Outstanding” schools drive up house prices quite significantly.

In the catchment area around the Ofsted “Outstanding” Altrincham Girls Grammar School in Greater Manchester, house prices are on average 223% higher than they are outside the catchment area. Outside the catchment area, a house might be £200,000, but inside the catchment area, a very similar house will be £446,000, over twice as expensive, simply because the location is so important.

Consider what’s best for you

If you’re a first-time home buyer, it’s good to think about what your plans for your first home are, both long and short-term.

Are you buying with a partner? If so, are you planning to start a family with them? And if so, where would you like your children to be educated? Can you drive? If not, are you close to public transport links to get children to school? If so, what is the traffic like during the school rush? Can you ensure you can get your children to school punctually? What quality of education would you prefer your child receive? And can you budget for that?

House prices are often astronomical around Ofsted “Outstanding” schools, but there will be many “Good” schools in your area. House prices around “Good” schools will be less than “Outstanding”, but still provide quality education. If you are dead set on your child going to an “Outstanding” school, you must account for the fact that it will very likely cost you far more.

What if I don’t want children?

Of course, if you’re not planning on having children, then you may be able to find cheaper housing within catchment areas. However, these will usually be smaller properties with less bedrooms and less space. It may be wiser to just avoid “Outstanding” catchment areas altogether in that case. As stated before, you can find similar housing outside catchment areas. Most property search websites will let you filter for homes near schools.

Choose the home that’s right for you

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you and your future. Many first-time buyers will struggle to buy homes in “Outstanding” school catchment areas. While it’s not impossible, you may have to compromise. The question is, do you value your long term financial health, or do you want to see your children go to the best schools? Every person draws their line in a different place. You will have to do the same.


Desirability is one of the main drivers of house prices. Prices often differ wildly inside and outside school catchment areas. If you want your children to attend the best schools, you must be ready to pay the price. If you are happy for your children to attend good schools, or you do not plan to have children, then be sure to check catchment areas to assure you are not buying in areas of higher demand.

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