According to analysis of the data collected by the property website PrimeLocation.com, parents who want to live in the cachement area of a good primary schools are forced to pay up to a 42% premium on the purchase price of their house, compared to the neighborhoods containing second-tier schools.
Houses in the catchment area of one Lancashire school sell for an average of £572,500 – around two-and-a-half times the cost of homes in the rest of the region.
The competition for primary schools slots in England is fierce, with up to nine students competing for the same spot. The government has long projected the coming shortage of primary school places but not much has been done to ameliorate the problem. As a result, parents are forced to jump through more and more expensive hoops in order to secure a space for their children. The corresponding increase in property pricing means that middle-class families who have lived in the area for decades are now being forced out.
Nigel Lewis, the website's property analyst, said: "It's no surprise that parents are investing considerable amounts of money choosing a home that gives their child access to the best school possible.
"This demand has led to higher than average asking prices for homes in the most sought- after neighborhoods, pricing many parents out of the area altogether.
The analysts collected data on the asking price in the area surrounding top 100 primary schools in England and found the average asking price for a home to be £309,732. That is nearly £92,000 higher than the average asking price for a house over the whole of England. Surprisingly, the school "premiums," as the researches called them, were lowest in London, where the property prices are already high compared to the rest of the country.
Top primaries in the East Midland yielded the biggest house price rises, it emerged, with property around £82,000 – 48 per cent – higher than the regional average.
Homes near the neighbouring Curbar and Grindleford primary schools in Hope Valley, Derbyshire, commanded average prices of £442,692, said the study. This was £271,557 – or 159 per cent – higher than the East Midlands average.