Do School Ratings Matter When Building A Home?

Is a good local school really a driver of an area’s real-estate prices? If so, is it worth paying as much as 30% extra on a property to join the catchment zone? We’re here to help you examine the pros and cons of paying a premium for the ‘right’ school zone when building a home:

What Are School Catchment Zones? 

Students within a certain locality are given priority admission to local state schools. Houses existing within this geographic perimeter are known to be in a school ‘catchment’ zone. In area’s with reputable schools, this has been a key factor in driving local real-estate prices, as parents rally to secure their children’s access to a premium educational experience.

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What Are The Advantages?

An investment in your child’s future
The foremost benefit of building a home within a good school catchment zone is, obviously, access to quality education. Many families are paying a premium for suburbs with highly-rated public schools. You should consider the price-hike as an investment in your child and their schooling.

Resale value
Good local schools drive real-estate prices. A property’s value can rise by as much as 30%, simply by being within the zone of a credible public school. This is great news for your house’s eventual resale value and, even if you don’t have kids, suggests that you are making a sensible investment.

What Should You Consider?

Shifting boundaries and other variables
School catchment zones are not fixed. Often, due to population variability and over-enrollment, the perimeters of a school-zone will be revised. In this sense, it is not wise to pay huge additional fees for a property solely because it is in the catchment area of a ‘good school’. These boundaries can be easily re-zoned, and you might make a significant loss on your investment. This risk can, however, be mitigated by building a home in the centre of the catchment area.

It is also important to consider the shifting status of schools over-time. A change of principal or a re-allocation of funding can witness your local school slip in the rankings, and all-too-easily, your potential resale value could plummet.

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Do rankings equal quality schooling?
Sure, high ATAR scores are a quantifiable indicator of apt staff and dedicated students. However, they do not indicate quality pastoral care or resources. Before jumping-in, tour the school and its facilities and ensure they are suitable for the learning style and needs of your child.

Is It Worth The Premium? 

People are paying through-the-nose for houses in good catchment zones; forking out as much as an additional $200,000. Do the maths. If you have just one child, or perhaps two, does the additional cost of buying in the catchment zone of a good public school equal that of a private education? If so, it might be worthwhile considering applying for an independent school.

Other Criteria To Consider 

The allure of a good school zone shouldn’t mean compromising on other crucial housing criteria. Keep orientation, location and proximity to other amenities in front of mind when looking to build on a property. How will your family function within the home? Does it suit your current and future needs? Are there other developments planned for the area that could affect your house’s eventual resale value?

If you have any questions about the home building process, including finding the correct house plan, builder or developer, then don’t hesitate to call us on 1800 184 284 or book a call online at a time that suits you.

Nikki Sitch

Nikki is completing a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English and Creative Writing. When not studying, she is rearranging her share-house according to the latest interior trends.


iBuildNew is the market leading aggregator dedicated to residential home construction and land development. As an independent platform, iBuildNew helps Australians identify and compare new home designs, house and land packages and land estates. It’s the smart way home buyers, who are considering a new build, can find the ideal options to match their individual needs. Home building is a big decision, we make sure you get it right.

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