Child-free househunters can pocket the difference

If you are househunting and don’t have to accommodate children, the world is your oyster!

You would do well, however, to consider the factors that are important to other househunters, even if they are not currently material to your decision – especially if you have one eye on resale at some point.

The impact of schools is particularly relevant, even if your family unit is not going to be a consumer of education.

The influence of a good school is so great on the property market, property prices are driven up by as much as 20%, creating what’s been dubbed a catchment area property bubble.

Even good primary schools are pushing up the price of property, with SAT’s results having a direct impact on value. And it’s not just the price that’s affected; competition for property in catchment areas is high, so your chances of being the only interested buyer for a family home are low. Every third party under the age of 50 is fixated on how close they are to a good school. It’s becoming an increasing trend amongst families to first select the school they wish their children to attend, and for this choice to then dictate the area in which they live, rather than leisure, family or even work reasons.

If your children have grown up and moved on; or if you don’t have children (and don’t plan to), you would do well to positively avoid areas that are served by good schools in both the private and state sector. Your property search will be a great deal easier, if you move it away from the epicentre of school bubbles, and you may well pay as much as 20% less for a similar property.

To maximize your resources, we would suggest you consider that if you don’t need to live near a good school, don’t live near a good school – but nevertheless it is a decision to be clear-eyed about, as your exit strategy will be limited to those who also don’t need to worry about that as a factor.

Schools also tend to produce a strong demographic in the community – and this may affect you. Living right on the doorstep of a school is something you should always think about carefully – noise and traffic are the main considerations, and both can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

If you’re moving to an area you don’t know well, do some research on the local schools. Private schools tend to affect family homes within a 20 – 30 minute drive; while state schools will have a designated catchment area that can generally be researched on the internet. These catchment areas are quite often odd shapes with strange corners that fall inside, and others that fall outside. It’s the latter corners, and the villages and towns immediately outside the catchment area that will provide the best value property.

Your local Stacks Regional Directors will be familiar with schools in your chosen area, and can provide in-depth knowledge on other factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing your home. Find Our Offices here and how we can help.

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