Parents willing to pay £26k house price premium to secure state school spot

Parents in England are prepared to pay almost £30,000 extra to buy a home near the country's top-rated state schools. New research by Santander Mortgages has revealed the 42 percent premium on house prices close to the top 100 state secondary schools, compared to the surrounding area.

According to the research, 20 percent of families had to downsize to secure a property in their desired school catchment area with a fifth (24 percent) having to work extra hours to afford their move and the same percentage seeing their commuting costs rise significantly.

Primary places also coveted

High-performing secondary schools are not the only factor causing house prices to rise: the Santander research says a property near one of England's top 1,000 state primary schools will come with an 8 percent price premium.

Across the UK, parents say they'd pay an average £26,860 more than the average house price to secure a place at a top state school.

Miguel Sard, managing director of mortgages at Santander UK, said: "Living in the vicinity of a top ranked school carries a significant house price premium. If families are looking to move into a catchment area specifically to boost their chances of getting into an elite school, they can expect to pay a hefty price.

"It is important when considering purchasing a property that people understand the true costs as the house price is just one of many. Stamp duty, solicitors' fees and moving costs mount up. Parents are prepared to sacrifice a lot to give their child the best start in life."

Gaming the system

The Santander research also reveals the lengths some parents are prepared to go to when trying to get their child into a preferred school. They try to "game the system" by moving their kids to stay with friends and relatives who already live in the catchment area, renting a second property in the desired spot and registering their child at another property within the catchment area even when they don't live there.

And once their child has that coveted spot at the desired school, 54 percent of parents say they'd move out of the area.

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