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PLANNING FOR SCHOOL CATCHMENT AREAS

By Alanna Ngo

There’s more to planning for your children’s future than you thought. In fact, unless you’re going to send them to private schools, or home school them, it could be time to start considering where they’re going to go to be educated – even if they’re still rolling around in nappies.

That may seem over the top, but there have been reports of parents enrolling their children up to a decade in advance to make sure they get a place. The first step towards getting your children into a good school is to buy property in the right area and start planning for catchment zones.

The price of a house in a particular school zone in Melbourne increases by $19,000 with each 1 per cent increase in study score.

DO SCHOOL CATCHMENT ZONES AFFECT PROPERTY VALUES?

The short answer is yes.

A recent University of Melbourne study found that the release of good news about schools in the vicinity of a property (i.e. good test results, a solid reputation) increased a property’s value by 3.6 per cent. A separate analysis by Property Observer found that the price of a house in a particular school zone in Melbourne increases by $19,000 with each 1 per cent increase in VCE study score above 40.

It’s going to be expensive, so you should start planning as soon as possible.

HOW CAN I PLAN FOR SCHOOL CATCHMENT ZONES?

If you’re set on your children attending a good public school then the earlier you start planning, the better. Public schools generally open enrolments in May before your child is due to start, so you should aim to have decided on a school and put a plan in motion well before then. Consider the following first:

  • What’s important to you and your child: academic results, art or sports?
  • Does your child have any special needs that need to be considered?
  • How does your child feel about the school you’ve chosen?
  • Can you afford property in its catchment area?

You can use the MySchool website to find out everything there is to know about schools you’re considering, including academic results and attendance rates. Once you’ve considered what’s important to you and your little one, and chosen a suitable school, you’ll need to purchase property so that you live in its catchment area. Property in desirable areas won’t stay on the market for long so you’ll need to act quickly and get help from a local agent.

With a little help getting your children into the best school possible needn’t be stressful.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING?

As population density increases schools sometimes shrink their catchment areas to keep a handle on enrollments. Buying property on the very fringe of an area could be a bad idea, as there’s always a chance it’ll be rezoned and you’ll no longer fall under your chosen school’s catchment. To make sure this doesn’t occur, buy a decent distance away from the fringe of the area – the closer the better.

Next, you should consider the future. There’s a good chance that you’ll eventually move on from the area and sell your home, so you should keep its resale value in mind. Go for three or four bedroom homes suitable for families if possible, as these may be be easier to sell, and increase in value faster. Any renovations that make your property more child-friendly could also increase its value.

If you’re thinking about getting your little ones into the right school, and you’re still not sure where to start, get in touch with a local real estate agent. They can help you consider what you need in a home and help you find the right property in the right catchment area. With a little help getting your children into the best school possible needn’t be stressful.

Souced: www.raywhite.com

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