Why Schools Directly Affect The Value of Properties in West Sussex
Every homebuyer looking for a property close to a prestigious or heavily oversubscribed school, college or university will know that proximity to a high-demand educational institution can have a tangible impact on the average selling price and desirability of properties within a catchment area.
The phenomenon is not new but can make a quantifiable difference to the listing price and likely pace of sale a seller might expect – regardless of whether they have a school-aged family – because the postcode of properties in West Sussex can directly affect eligibility for a priority school place.
We’ll explain what the school price premium is, how much of a difference it can have on your property value, and why knowing which catchment areas you fall into can be valuable information when negotiating a sale.
What Difference Do Local Schools Make to Your Property Value?
Across West Sussex, we are fortunate to have some of the country’s best private schools, respected colleges and outstanding-rated public schools. The general rule is that the closer your home is to one of these establishments, the more it will be worth, but being too nearby can also be a consideration.
Government research in 2017 indicated that:
- Properties close to the top 10% of UK primary schools attracted a valuation 8% higher than comparable homes in the same area.
- Homes near the top 10% of secondaries sold for just under 7% more than similar properties.
These statistics apply to local authority primary and secondary schools and exclude private educational facilities and colleges, so homeowners near to very popular and exclusive schools within the private education sector may find a greater premium attached.
You may also benefit from consulting a local property agent with the experience to know how to price and market your home to attract the best possible selling price – but catchment areas can make a significant impact.
The Effect of Private Schools on Local Property Prices
Independent schools do not necessarily rely on catchment areas to assign spaces. Instead, they may operate on a different system, where pupils are offered a place, depending on demand vs availability, based on the following:
- Previous connections with the school, such as having siblings in attendance or parents who are past alumni.
- Grants, scholarships and entrance exams, particularly for grammar schools, which select students based on attainment.
- Timings where applicants must pay a deposit, holding fee or years’ tuition costs in advance to secure their offered place.
However, some private schools and colleges will assess the location of the family, excluding those offering boarding facilities which normally expect some parents to live some distance away and occasionally in another country.
While independent schools are not bound by catchment areas, some governing boards will prioritise pupils who apply for a place and live within the community or within what they believe to be a sensible and viable commuting distance.
Admission policies vary greatly, but some day schools may be reluctant to admit pupils who do not live nearby, partly due to the risk of having a vacancy in a year group if the parents decide to move their child to a school nearer their home and also because many prominent schools expect families to be involved with activities such as sports, weekend events and extracurricular activities.
Therefore although catchment areas do not always have as much influence on private school admissions, properties within the immediate area often attract higher sales prices where parents wish to improve their chances of admission or simply want a home within an easy distance away.
Top West Sussex Schools That Attract Buyers To Properties In West Sussex
According to the Sussex Independent School League Table, there are no less than six private secondary and sixth-form schools and colleges in the West Sussex region that are among the best-performing for the 2022/23 academic year.
Schools, colleges and universities that are regularly ranked at the top of league tables can make a marked impact on property values in the local area.
Of course, league tables are one indication, and many families choose schools based on location, facilities, admissions policies and personal preferences where they wish to select a co-educational school or a college that offers both day and boarding places.
Homes close to these schools and colleges are highly attractive for buyers, partly for the convenience of living close by and also because children who attend a well-known school from nursery or prep school upward may have first refusal on senior school and sixth form places.
How to Market a Property in Proximity to a Prestigious School or College
Tod Anstee often reiterates that marketing is essential to achieving a successful sale for a reasonable value, and homes close to high-value schools can maximise their location to improve their sale value and buyer interest.
As West Sussex property specialists, we can offer more tailored guidance about your property listing, but there are several considerations, whether or not you currently have a family or children living in the home:
- It is important to provide context and information within property marketing particulars, such as how near a school is to the home and whether it is a walkable journey – for example, a property within five minutes drive or 15 minutes walk could be highly desirable.
- Marketing to families and professionals with young children is a viable exercise, where people moving to West Sussex, often from London, will not be exposed to local marketing or are unlikely to find a property listing that is not advertised digitally.
- Including brief details of local schools and their league table performance or Ofsted rating for local authority schools can be useful, indicating the catchment areas the home falls into.
Property premiums are often weighted, so the more sought-after the school or exclusive the residential area, the higher the price associated with immediacy to an outstanding school.
For more guidance about listing your property or assessing whether your location close to a reputable school or college is a strong selling point, please contact Tod Anstee at your convenience for a private discussion.