Would you move home for a school catchment address?
New research from Santander Mortgages has found that 26% of parents with children of a school age have either bought or rented a new property in order to secure an address within their desired school catchment area.

The study also found that families are prepared to spend an 11% premium – which equates to an average £23,707 in the current property market – in order to move to their desired catchment area. This is just under the average full-time salary in the UK, which currently stands at £27,6003. On a regional basis, those living in London are willing to pay the highest premium (15%) – equating to an eye-watering £71,539 in the current property market.

The sacrifices made by parents to be within these sought-after catchment areas go far beyond financial, with 17% having changed jobs as a result of the move. A fifth (20%) say they were forced to downsize while 15% moved to an area they did not like. A further 22% admit they overstretched themselves, paying more for the property than they could realistically afford and 21% moved to a location that was far away from family or friends.

Santander’s study suggests that the moves made by many of these families are temporary, with only 29% planning to continue living in the area. More than a quarter (27%) of those who moved to be within a particular catchment area said they had, or would, move out straight away once their child had secured a place.

Amongst families who have moved to be within their desired catchment area, almost half (49%) said they had sold their previous property and purchased a new one within their chosen area. A quarter (25%) said they purchased a second home in the catchment area, while just over a quarter (26%) secured their desired address by renting a property.

This trend looks set to continue as 58% of parents who expect to move house before their children leave school, say catchment areas will have an impact on where they choose to live.

Looking regionally, there are significant variations in the overall proportion of parents moving to be within a catchment area and also in their decision as to whether they buy, rent or look to secure a second property. Overall London has the highest proportion of parents moving to secure an address within a specific catchment area (46 per cent), while East Midlands has the lowest (11%).

The average premium paid by parents for a property in their desired school catchment area ranges from seven per cent in the South West, to 15% in London. As a result of higher property prices, London also has the highest value premium at £71,539