26% of parents with children of a school age have either bought or rented a new property in order to secure an address within their desired school catchment area, according to new research from Santander Mortgages.
The report also found that families are prepared to spend an 18% premium, which equates to £32,127 in the current property market in order to move to their desired catchment area. This is significantly more than the average full-time salary in the UK, which currently stands at £27,195.
In addition, 31% have changed jobs as a result of the move. 25% say they were forced to downsize whilst 31% moved to an area they did not like. A further 26% admit they overstretched themselves, paying more for the property than they could realistically afford and 33% moved to a location that was far away from family or friends.
Santander says its report suggests that the moves made by many of these families are only temporary, with less than a quarter (22%) planning to continue living in the area. 45% of those who moved to be within a particular catchment area said they had, or would, move straight back out once their child had secured a place, whilst a further 30% planned to wait until their child finished school.
Amongst families who have moved to be within their desired catchment area, 40% said they had sold their previous property and purchased a new one within their chosen area. 41% say they purchased a second home in the catchment area, while 20% secured their desired address by renting a property.
This trend looks set to continue as 61% of parents who expect to move home before their children leave school, say catchment areas will have an impact on where they choose to live.
Miguel Sard, managing director of mortgages at Santander UK, said: “With competition for school places fiercer than ever, parents are making significant financial and lifestyle sacrifices to be within the catchment area of desirable schools. All buyers will have a wish list of what they want their new home to have and being within a certain school catchment is increasingly common amongst young families – but can often come at a cost.
“Many of these sought-after areas command significant premiums, so it’s important that parents don’t stretch themselves beyond their means if they are looking to move. “