Posted on 12/12/2016
Studies by Australian Scholarship Group reveal the cost of educating a child born in 2016 at a private school will range from $360,044 in metropolitan Queensland, to $552,351 in metropolitan New South Wales. Even a public school can cost anything from $67,000 to $230,000.
To understand the full financial pressure, multiply those numbers by the number of children in a family and it’s easy to see that a Sydney family with three children could be paying $1.6 million just to see their children finish Year 12. With that sizeable outlay, you would want some confidence in the school that the child was going to do well academically.
A more affordable alternative is a public school with good teaching and behavioural levels that matches the capabilities of independent schools. Many parents see this as a good reason to pay more for a house located within a catchment zone of a leading school because they would save on private school fees.
Home-buyers can pay an extra 10-15% for properties located within the zone of high-performing government schools.
“People would be willing to pay $100,000 extra to secure property in the right catchment, especially where academic results are very high,” says Jamal Naouri, of Place Estate Agents, Brisbane.
Domain executive editor Stephen Nicholls says identifying which catchment zone a leading school fell under was a “game-changer” for both buyers and sellers. “Agents say the difference between one side of the street and the other can be 10%, based purely on schooling,” says Nicholls.
Nicholls quotes an example of a recent listing – a five-bedroom family home in Cherrybrook in north-west Sydney.
Priced at $1.35 million, the selling agent for the property admitted it was “ambitiously priced”. But it was one of the city’s hottest properties because it was in the catchment zone for the highly-regarded Cherrybrook Technology High School.
“Students at the school achieve outstanding HSC results,” the school’s website boasts.
Buxton agent and auctioneer Simon Pintado provides another example – McKinnon Secondary College, Melbourne. He says McKinnon is among Melbourne’s most respected and high-performing government schools and its zone is hot among prospective buyers.
Pintado said he was approached regularly by prospective buyers who wanted to buy only in the zone and wouldn’t even consider a property outside the perimeter.
Research undertaken by real estate website Domain discovered around 4 million Google searches on schools every month and that proximity to high-performing government schools was as popular a requirement as ensuites, pools and bedrooms.
Some capital city school zone hotspots, according to Domain, are:
Adelaide: Zones for Adelaide High School, Brighton Secondary School, Marryatville High School, Glenunga International High School, Unley High School, The Norwood Morialta High School, Westbourne Park Primary and Colonel Light Gardens .
Brisbane: Zones for Ascot State School, Eagle Junction State School, Brisbane State High School, Ironside State School, Bardon State School and Indooroopilly State School.
Melbourne: Zones for Balwyn, Camberwell and McKinnon secondary schools, Glen Waverley Secondary College and University High School.
Perth: Zones for Rossmoyne, Churchlands, Mt Lawley and Willeton Senior High Schools, Shenton College and Como Secondary College.
Sydney: Zones for Willoughby Girls High School, Killara High School, Cherrybrook Technology High School, Epping Boys High School, Cheltenham Girls High School and Epping West Primary.