Scots parents paying £80k to buy homes in top school catchment areas

Parents are paying a premium of £80,000 above the average house price to live in the catchment area of the country's top state schools, according to new research.

The average price of a property around Scotlands top 20 secondary schools is 68 per cent above the Scottish average,

The average price of a property around Scotland’s top 20 secondary schools is £249,635, which is 68% above the Scottish average, according to the Bank of Scotland study.

In three of Scotland’s local authority areas - Edinburgh, Aberdeen and East Dunbartonshire - the premium to live near a top performing school is more than £100,000, when compared to their surrounding areas.

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Parents in Edinburgh are paying the most, with the catchment for St Thomas of Aquin’s High School attracting a premium of £145,022, against the local authority average of £232,357.

House prices near Boroughmuir High School in the capital, which comes fourth in the list of top 20 state schools, are now on average £354,378, a premium of 53%.

House buyers in East Dunbartonshire will pay a premium of £107,759 to live near its top performing schools, while in Aberdeen City the figure is £103,283.

Graham Blair, mortgages director at Bank of Scotland, said: “Being in the catchment for a good school is one of the major considerations parents take into account when purchasing a property and it is clear those choosing to buy near one of Scotland’s Top 20 state schools are paying a significant premium.

“While homeowners buying in these catchments are likely to make a reasonable return on their investment over the longer term, it is also important to recognise that parents on low or average incomes may be unable to get their children access to the best schools.”

The study also suggested that living near a top performing state school appears to be a shrewd investment based on house price performances in these areas over the last five years.

Parents who bought a home near one of the Top 20 schools in 2011 have seen an average house price rise of £32,817, from £216,818 to £249,635 in 2016 - an increase of 15%.

This is a faster rise, in cash terms, than in Scotland as a whole, where the average house price has grown over the same period from £141,905 to £169,552 - an increase of £27,647.

The biggest increases in prices around the top 20 schools have been in East Dunbartonshire where the average cost of a house in the catchments for Bearsden and Boclair Academies has gone up by 45% over last five years from £228,257 in 2011 to £331,304 in 2016.

The school ranking was compiled using Standard Grade performance data from the Scottish Government and reflects the percentage of pupils achieving Highers of 5+ at SCQF L6 or better in 2016.