House prices dip in January - but expert reveals how YOUR home can beat the downturn

Written by : Admin | Fri 08th Feb 2019

With school admission rules mainly based on location, and the UK facing the growing issue of the number of pupils for many schools outstripping the number of places available, those children who reside within the catchment area for a particular school are clearly at an advantage. But for parents who are willing – and able – to move home in order to ensure that their child is accepted, the cost can be steep. According to the research based on the Ofstead ratings of 20,545 secondary schools across England, rather unsurprisingly average house prices increased considerably depending on the rating. The data revealed that parents should expect to pay, on average, £331,605 for a family home within the catchment area for an ‘Outstanding’ Ofstead rated school, of which there are only 4,168 in the country.

The price drops slightly for a property in close proximity to a school with a ‘Good’ Ofstead rating, of which there are 13,558 in England, with the cost of the average family home reducing to £292,933.

That’s still a hefty price tag to pay though, as according to the latest Halifax House Price Index, the average property value was £223,691 in January.

This would indicate that the ‘Ofstead’ premium is still significant, particularly as the Halifax report also suggests that the average house price growth in 2018 was less than one percent, and on a monthly basis, average house prices decreased by 2.9 per cent in January, following a 2.5 per cent rise in December.

However, the Halifax data only offers a macro perspective, and doesn’t allow for the differences between the better performing regions in the UK which have seen significantly higher levels of growth in the last twelve months, and indeed where prices are still on the increase due to localised factors, with access to quality education of course being one of them.

Take Birmingham for example. With the West Midlands being on the best performing regions in 2018 and prices still seeing month on month increases, it’s no surprise to learn that the city boasts the highest number of Ofstead ‘Outstanding’ schools in England. The result? The average family home here costs £248,504.

There is of course an argument to say that paying more for a property close to a good school is nothing new, and that estate agents have extolled the virtues of being within certain catchment areas for many years in order to achieve a better selling price for such properties, regardless of the economic climate.

Fast-forward to the current Brexit-induced anxiety around London and the South East, which has been beset by cooling house prices since 2016, homes close to the better-performing educational establishments have retained much of their value.

Buying a house near an outstanding school in parts of West London, for example, will still cost you on average a staggering £1,345,614. 

That’s because, as any parent will tell you, regardless of what’s going on at Westminster or in Brussels, life still goes on. And children still have to go to school.



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