Paying premium for school catchment

Infinity Tunbridge Wells

House buyers and tenants would pay a quarter more for a property in the catchment area of a good school, a survey by a Tunbridge Wells online estate agent has revealed., based at Calverley House in the town centre, conducted the poll among 250 of its 12,000-client database.

Founder Adam Male, 35, said he had been ‘quite surprised’ by some of the findings of the survey.

It shows that 42 per cent of renters and 38 per cent of buyers would accept a ‘lesser’ property in order to secure a place for a child at a good school.

When asked the ‘key concern’ for tenants choosing a rental location, some 30 per cent said ‘school catchment area’, compared to 17 per cent who opted for ‘proximity to a station’.

More than half (52 per cent) of those polled said they would be prepared to rent to be nearer a good school if they were unable to sell their homes.

Former Goldman Sachs banker Mr Male, who lives in High Brooms, said: “There is a willingness to pay 25 per cent more for a house simply to get the right school.

“People are putting their kids and their kids’ education first – top of the list of priorities.”

The survey was released the day after news broke that the Weald of Kent girls’ grammar school would be allowed to build an ‘annexe’ in Sevenoaks for 450 pupils, circumventing 1998 legislation preventing the building of new grammars.

Citing an example, Mr Male said that the popularity of Claremont Primary School had resulted in residents looking to move into the catchment area. – which claims to be able to sell a property for as little as £400 – has been trading for ten years, the last five in Tunbridge Wells.

Mr Male says he was among the pioneers who came up with the online estate agency model before the likes of

Earlier this year, online estate agent eMoov used data on property sales and school GCSE results to calculate which schools offered the best balance between affordable property and high educational standards.

Tunbridge Wells ranked a poor 40th place in a table of affordability while Birmingham was top.

Chief executive of eMoov, Russell Quirk, said: “Unfortunately we aren’t all in the desirable position whereby we can wave our children off to a prestigious, private boarding school, but this eMoov study identifies the top performing schools in the country in relation to the affordability of property in their surrounding area.

“If you’re limited in terms of budget when looking to buy, you can still ensure your children get a chance of a top education.”

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