Families are the single biggest group of buyers in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Whether it’s young families upgrading into the prestigious east, older families changing their home into something more appropriate or couples with plans to start a family, there’s no shortage of parents and children moving into town.
For this reason, if there’s one thing Melbourne homebuyers are always talking about, it’s the school zones. In most parts of Australia, you need to be geographically located within the school area to ensure your child gets a place at the public school of your choice. This means that homes in the top areas are highly sought after and sometimes attract a bidding war from families trying to get a foot in the door of the best education hubs for their children.
The inner- and middle- suburbs of the east have some of the top public school catchments in the city, many with a crossover of public, private and religious schools. This allows parents to make choices as their children move through different stages of education. But you may be paying top dollar to get into the area.
New statistics show Glen Huntly Primary School topped the list as the school catchment area with the fastest house price growth in the country, with 41.3% price growth in the area in the past 12 months, according to Domain data. This has brought the median price for that catchment up to $1.18 million.
Hawthorn’s Glenferrie Primary School came in third on the national list, with 35% growth to $1.5 million, and Kerrimuir Primary School also made the list, in Box Hill North at $1,183,000.
These can seem stiff prices to pay, but being in good school areas can pay dividends over the long-term. As the city becomes more crowded, it’s difficult for the government to keep building as many schools as Melbourne needs. This means that owning a property located near a good school, with a good teacher-to-student ratio will become an even more valuable commodity in the years to come.
For investors, it’s also a worthwhile consideration. If you want a good long-term tenant, it’s wise to look into buying a property in a good school catchment area. Families who rent in an area are also eligible for a spot in their local public school, and it’s not uncommon to hear of families moving into a rental long-term and renting out their primary residence to secure their child a spot in the school of their choice. This allows them to save on stamp duty. If you are buying to attract a family renter, ensure you choose a property with plenty of space, including outdoor space if possible, and enough rooms for the children.
For many, buying a home in a school catchment area is a consideration before their children are even born. Be aware that school zones can change over time, so the closer you are to the school the safer your chances are of getting your child in when they are old enough. Research ahead of time so you’re aware of your plans to send your child to public or private school – some choose to send their children to private school for secondary, but public for primary – to really maximise the chances of buying the right home that you can stay in for years to come.
For those considering buying in a top school area, you also need to think carefully about your own commute times, school drop-offs and what you value in a school. While academic rankings can be useful, which are available online through the government’s My School website, there are other factors to consider, such as different programs for children with specific needs, the feel of the school, the facilities, community activities, whether you have heard first-hand reviews and the life skills your children are taught.
For more information about local schools, visit https://www.myschool.edu.au/.