Comment: Are you prepared to pay a premium to live near a sought-after state secondary school?

Living close to sought-after schools doesn't come cheap. Picture: Getty

Living close to sought-after schools doesn't come cheap. Picture: Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s that time of the year again, as parents prepare to tour local schools before making expensive decisions about whether they move house or not.

We’ll be doing the rounds these next few weeks, and hoping the school we like most is the one that’s closest to our house, thus saving us a load of stress and expense.

After all, the chance of finding a property we really like that’s also close to one of the more popular state secondaries is slim, and that’s before we even think about how much we might have to pay to secure it.

According to a well-timed press release from Lloyds Bank, house price growth in the catchments for England’s highest performing state schools is significantly outpacing growth elsewhere in the country.

There was an increase of 35 per cent (£104,365) near top state schools over the last five years, compared to an English average of just 20 per cent (£49,082).

In areas like ours, the cash outlay is likely to be significantly higher.

There were no Hertfordshire schools listed among the top 30 highest-ranked secondaries, but we don’t need a press release from Lloyds to tell us that buying close to our most popular schools comes with a hefty premium attached.

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And while the market may be flatter now in general, a shortage of decent family homes in the catchments of over-subscribed ‘outstanding’ schools such as Sandringham and Beaumont means that when one comes on the market there tends to be an awful lot of interest.

You need deep pockets to be able to afford to buy in these parts of town, with three-bed houses on some of the best streets changing hands for around the million pound mark.

But for families who are able to afford it, it’s a price worth paying – after all, seven years of private education, especially if multiple children are involved, may cost a lot more – and there’d be no even more expensive house to sell on at the end of it.