With market conditions as they are, now is a great time to start looking for your next property. One of the most important aspects to consider when purchasing a house is the local school catchment area. It’ll come as no surprise that the better an academic institution, the more popular the catchment areas and, in turn, the properties within that catchment zone. The team at ACTON are expert property agents in Perth, and can help you navigate school catchment areas to ensure you purchase your ideal property.
What is a Catchment Area?
School catchment areas are geographical zones within which a family must reside for their children to automatically qualify for enrolment at the nearby school. It is possible for children to attend a school that is outside their catchment area, however, this often involves waitlists and there is no guarantee they will secure a spot in their preferred school.
Catchment Areas: What to Consider
Its not as straightforward as thinking a house in the catchment area of a good school will continue to increase in value year after year. Before you get too far ahead, there are some factors to consider.
Zones Can Change
Catchment areas can change their boundaries at any time. This is most commonly done when a school becomes so popular that it can no longer fit all the children living in the catchment area. The catchment area is then re-zoned, usually reducing its size, with properties on the outer edges being moved into new catchment areas for neighbouring schools.
If you are considering property on the edge of a catchment zone, be prepared that one day the zone may change. If you are set on being within the catchment for a particular school, be sure to invest in a property located centrally in the catchment area, and close to the school. This is particularly important if you have your heart on enrolling your own child in a preferred school.
The Property Itself
While we know that a popular catchment area will add value to a property, the property itself is still very important. A well-maintained property in a desirable area (regardless of the catchment) will continue to be a safe investment. Conversely, small one-bedroom units are unlikely to be inhabited by families, and might not draw the same additional value from the catchment zone as a 3 bedroom family home.
The School Itself
Schools are dynamic institutions, and as such, they can change in status and reputation. A current top tier school may not always be held in such high regard. It is important to evaluate a school’s history and reputation, as well as researching any schools marked for future improvements, as these can all affect a school’s desirability.
Investment properties – should I consider a sought-after catchment area?
Properties in popular school catchments do attract a premium price, and have been shown to increase in value at a higher rate than neighbouring suburbs that don’t have a top school to draw families. It is important to take into consideration the above factors, and the current price. If the property is already at a premium price, the value to be had may not be as great. However, if this is a property you can hold on to for 10-15 years, there is tremendous potential for a fruitful investment.