One in four parents with school-age children have either bought or rented a new property to secure an address in the catchment area of the best schools, according to a report.
The study by financial services provider Santander reveals the extraordinary lengths to which middle-class parents will go in order to get their child into their preferred school, with London parents among those most likely to make the move.
According to the survey, London has the highest proportion of parents (46%) moving to secure an address within a school catchment area, and they are willing pay a premium of over £70,000 to buy a house close to a good school.
Yet more than a quarter of all families (27%) who move to be within a catchment area will leave as soon as a school place is secured for their child.
The survey of more than 4,000 adults found that almost one in five (17%) have to change jobs to facilitate a move into a good school catchment area. A fifth (20%) are forced to downsize; 15% admit they have to move to an area they don’t like, while 21% leave family and friends, and 22% pay more than they can afford – just to get their child into the right school.
Of those families who move to be within their desired catchment area, almost half (49%) sold their previous property and bought a new one close to their preferred school. A quarter said they purchased a second home in the catchment area, while 26% admitted to renting a property to secure a school place.
Miguel Sard, managing director of mortgages for Santander UK, said: “School catchment areas remain a key discussion point for many parents.
“Our research shows that with competition for school places remaining high, parents are making significant financial and lifestyle sacrifices to be within the catchment area of desirable schools. Living within a certain school catchment area is a priority for many families but these premium addresses can come with a hefty price tag.”
Parents in the East Midlands are the least likely to move to try to secure a place for their child in a good school: at 11%, the East Midlands has the lowest proportion of parents moving in order to get an address in the right catchment area.
But, on average, families are prepared to spend an 11% premium, which according to Santander, equates to an average of almost £24,000 in the current property market, to move to their desired catchment area.