Homebuyers cite good local school as top priority

Moving to an area with a good local school is now a top priority for more than a third of prospective homebuyers, new research has revealed.

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A study by Santander Mortgages found that 37 per cent of buyers with children under 10 cited the quality of the local school as a deal-breaker and many were happy to pay an extra £12,000 in order to secure a home nearby.

The same was true of those with a child aged between 11 and 17, with one in four saying the proximity of a good school was a major plus.

Families in the West Midlands were most concerned about being in a desirable catchment area, with 26 per cent claiming it tops their list of house-buying priorities.

Women were revealed as the parent most likely to worry about catchment areas and were prepared to pay a £7,300 premium for the privilege, compared to men who would stretch to £4,450.

Phil Cliff, a director of Santander Mortgages, told The Telegraph: "People are increasingly concerned about the value of a good education, and in some areas of the country there is a significant amount of competition for places at sought-after schools.

"This has let to many parents trying to move to a particular area deliberately to improve their child's chances of getting into their desired school."

Of course, if a good school is on your list of priorities, you can expect to pay that little bit more - the study found the average house price premium in a good catchment area was £5,663.

What do you think - do you consider catchment areas when house-hunting? Leave a comment below...