There are advantages and disadvantages of living near a school, and it’s not just for those homebuyers with children.
Firstly, the advantages of buying a property close to a school include:
- Property values: Since these homes are in demand, your property will retain its value more effectively.
- School run: There’s no need to get stuck in traffic when you can walk your children to school (and they can walk home safely as well).
- Catchment area: An important issue if you want your children to go to a particular school.
However, there are several disadvantages when living close to the school, including:
- Traffic and parking: School rush hours are notorious for lots of parents driving to pick up children and creating traffic jams and parking issues.
- Noise: Lots of children and parents means lots of chatter, not always done quietly.
- Litter: a particular issue for those children, particularly at secondary school, who opt to eat breakfast ‘on the hoof’ and throw away wrappings.
- Playgrounds: Homebuyers need to appreciate that the noise is not restricted to the beginning and end of the school day, break times and lunchtimes can also mean a noisy playground.
The list of disadvantages is longer than for the advantages but for those with school-age children who want to be close to their school, then the premium that comes with buying a property close to a school will be worth the price.
Property values near schools
Since the demand for properties near schools is high, the property values will carry a premium for the privilege. Also, the better the school, the higher this premium will be.
One Department for Education report highlights that to buy close to a good quality primary school could mean paying an 8% premium on the property’s average price. That could amount to a hefty sum.
And if you are wanting to know about property values near secondary schools, the same report highlights that the premium could be 7% for living close to a quality secondary.
In addition to paying a premium, if you want your child to attend a particular school then you may effectively be investing in this opportunity to live within a particular catchment area.
For some parents, the ideal tactic may be to buy close to a quality primary school that is in the catchment area of the secondary school you would like your child to attend.
Competition for quality secondary schools is intense, so having the advantage of living close to the school should work – but it’s no guarantee of entry, as many parents will attest to.
Living near a secondary school
While most homebuyers will appreciate that living close to a primary school has obvious advantages, the same issues may not be applicable when it comes to living near a secondary school.
Although you may succeed in buying a property that’s in the catchment area, you may be on a route that sees lots of secondary school pupils passing your property.
Along with the litter they will generate, there’s also the prospect of vandalism and arguments between pupils, as well as heavy traffic and parking issues when pupils are being dropped off and picked up.
You will need to thoroughly research where you want to buy when it comes to living close to a secondary school but you will also need to appreciate that demand for these properties is high in addition to paying a premium.
Essentially, you’ll need to act quickly if you find a home and beat other potential buyers.
Impact on school entry dates
For those who are wanting to buy in a particular catchment area, then you need to appreciate that the conveyancing process can vary enormously – which can have an impact on school entry dates.
If there is no chain and everything is straightforward, then you could complete a house purchase close to the school you would like your child to attend within six weeks. However, you should really plan for up to 12 weeks.
Should there be complications, then this may extend to six months and may derail any plans you have for meeting the school’s application process.
Living opposite a school playground
As mentioned earlier, one of the issues of living close to a primary school is that of noise, particularly during playtime and lunch.
For many people and parents, particularly, a noisy playground is something to be enjoyed as children play away from the studies and this is one of the distinct disadvantages of living near a school.
However, for some people, this noise can be an issue since they are already being disturbed by the youngsters being taken to and from school and then having noisy break times.
Indeed, newspapers tend to highlight those homeowners who may complain about playground noise since those making the complaint may appear to be churlish, but some playgrounds can be very noisy indeed.
In addition to living opposite a school playground, you’ll have to deal with heavy traffic, thoughtless parking, litter and noise.
Does living near a school increase property value?
If you want to know whether living near a school increases property values, then the answer is almost certainly, ‘Yes’.
While most parents will be looking to buy close to quality primary and secondary schools, other parents will like the convenience of living close to a school, regardless of its Ofsted rating.
This means that demand for property is high, which tends to push up values since they may not have to worry about how their child gets to and from their school. Plus they will also be close to their friends.
If you would like to know how much the properties in a particular area are being sold for, then you could use the figures that the Government’s Land Registry website.
As with any house purchase, it’s important that you make a list of pros and cons beforehand so you understand what the disadvantages of living near a school might be.
You also need to appreciate that a house investment is for the long-term, so you need to be aware that the school’s proximity will be right for you.
Disadvantages of living near a school
Other issues we haven’t tackled when it comes to the disadvantages of living near a school include:
- Struggle to sell: The pool of interested buyers may be limited to those who want to live close to school. Others may be wary.
- Loitering: You may find pupils hang around the school for much longer than you anticipate, particularly for secondary schools
- School buses: Be prepared for more school buses dropping off pupils but they will also turn up at school in good time for pupils finishing. If there is no adequate parking, then they will be blocking the road.
- School events: While the school may be open for half a year, there will be various events including weekends and evenings that may impact on your patience.
Essentially, the disadvantages of living near a school are more about personal inconvenience but financially there’s little that can go wrong when investing in a home that is near to a good school that is in demand.