One in four move house to secure school catchment areas

24% of parents with school age children have either bought or rented a new property in order to secure an address within their desired school catchment area, according to research from Santander Mortgages.

Families willing to move are prepared to spend a 12% premium for their desired catchment area, equivalent to an extra £26,800 in the current property market. This is just under the average full-time salary in the UK, which currently stands at £28,2133.

A fifth of those who moved also changed jobs, while 20% say they were forced to downsize and 19% moved to an area where they did not feel safe. One in four (25%) admit they overstretched themselves, paying more for the property than they could realistically afford and 26% moved to a location that was far away from family or friends.

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The bank’s study suggests that the moves made by many of these families are temporary, with only 26% planning to continue living in the area once their child leaves school. 44% of those who moved to be within a catchment area said they will leave as soon as their child has secured a place. This figure rises to two thirds (66%) for parents in London.

Amongst families who have moved to be within their desired catchment area, 51% said they had sold their previous property and purchased a new one within their chosen area. 30% said they purchased a second home in the catchment area, while 19% secured their desired address by renting a property.

This trend looks set to continue as 40% of parents who expect to move house before their children leave school say catchment areas will dictate where they choose to live.

Miguel Sard, Managing Director of Mortgages at Santander UK, said: “Living within a certain school catchment area is top of the wish list for many families but often these addresses come at a premium. Our study highlights the significant financial and lifestyle sacrifices that parents are making to be within the catchment area of a desired school.

“Buyers need to do their research as properties in catchment areas often come with a hefty price tag, especially in London where competition for school places is fierce. We urge parents not to over-stretch themselves, but to find a mortgage provider that not only offers competitive rates and products but also has the expertise to ensure that the right deal is secured and the repayments are affordable.”

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