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School zones: are they worth the price tag?

Is it better to buy into a school catchment or pay private school fees and live where you like?

With Melbourne house prices on a steady increase, parents are now faced with the difficulty of weighing up hefty house prices in government school catchment zones versus private school fees.

In a recent study by, Melbourne was found to take out the top five performing government schools in the country, attracting increased interest from interstate and overseas into the competitive mix of potential buyers. These results have contributed towards an average spike of 20% higher house prices within these catchment zones.

In comparison to the average private school costs, Melbourne families are opting for smaller homes simply for the opportunity to fall within these areas rather than paying private school fees to live in less competitive suburbs.

The ASG Planning for Education Index recently revealed the average private school fees cost $15,280 a year for primary and $26,957 for the year at secondary level. Multiply that with the years at school and you’re looking at over $253K on private school fees during your child’s schooling years.

When considering the average growth of property value over the past 10 years, it’s easy to see why families are opting to invest in property over private school fees. While you may spend 20% more on a property, that investment is predicted to grow in value year on year.

As a prime example of this trend, we look at the nation’s highest ranked government primary school in Glen Huntly. The catchment area for Glen Huntly Primary School grew 41.3% from 2015 to 2016, where the average home costing $835K took a gigantic leap to $1.180m in just one year.

When you’re investing in both highly ranked schools and competitive real estate markets, it’s a win-win situation… provided you can afford the price tag.

By far, the most important consideration when searching for your new home location, regardless of school preferences, is to find an area that suits your family. Remember to explore the surrounding area for established and future-planned facilities, public transport and community, as you would with any real estate purchase. These all work towards adding long-term value to any area you buy into.

Want to get a head start on area trends? Take a look at the latest school rankings state by state and uncover a catchment area near you.

Investment , Property , Real Estate , Sales