It may be common place nowadays for house prices within the catchment areas of state schools, and sometimes independent schools, to be higher than the surrounding area, but it is still surprising to see how large the gap can be.
A prime example is the property market in Kent. I have extensive knowledge and experience with the South East property market and consequent insight in to just how much desirable postcodes can affect house prices.
The county’s most famous grammar school, which takes in both boarding and day pupils, is the 496-year-old local institution, Cranbrook School. Although the school’s boarding students can have a home residence through the UK or EU, the 100 or so day pupils who join the school each in Year 9 must live within 8.5 kilometres of the school.
Cranbrook School’s official catchment area takes in its eponymous home town but also Staplehurst, Goudhurst, Benenden, Hawkhurst and Frittenden. I have noticed that properties within this area are now on the market for higher values of between £95,000 and £140,300 (or up to 47%) more expensive than average values in neighbouring postcodes.
This is not surprising. Properties for sale within the catchment, which fetch on average £439,523 (£200,000 more than the county average) are usually advertised by estate agents with a ‘CSCA’ tag, which stands for Cranbrook School Catchment Area, giving a hint of the sometimes feverish market that exists around these properties.
The market is particularly feverish during Spring, July and then again during the New Year as parents buy in to the local property market in time for the school application deadline. However, as with many counties, recent lack of quality stock has also played a role in pushing up prices locally.
The challenge for many parents is also compounded by the number of commuter railway stations nearby in Staplehurst, Marden and Headcorn, which increase demand for properties locally. However, prices also increase as you get nearer to the inner collar around Tunbridge Wells, one of the county’s main commuter towns (at around an average market value of £489,973).
The Cranbrook catchment area isn’t the only hotspot locally – prices for four bedroom houses within a short drive of Sevenoaks stations are now easily exceeding £1 million at the moment.
If you have a property-related enquiry about Kent or the South East property markets and would like to discuss Garrington’s property finding services, contact Garrington now