Although the motivation behind today’s renters’ moving choices aren’t certain from the data, what is obvious is that the number of families with school-aged children renting close to the country’s best schools is increasing.
According to Hamptons International 28 % of rental properties located in close proximity to schools with an ‘outstanding’ OFSTED ratings were let to families with children. This figure is up from 26% in 2014 and 9% in 2008. In London this statistic is even more prominent with more than 50% of rental properties situated around the best schools occupied by families with children.
With applications for school places made between November and January, many families choose to move between June and September and a significant number of these are those moving to rental properties.
According to Countrywide plc, during the first half of 2015, 28% of properties let within one kilometre of OFSTED outstanding schools were let to families, up from just 10% in 2008. This statistic is even higher for secondary schools where 30% of properties rented around schools with an outstanding OFSTED rating are now let to families with children.
All of these statistics suggest that the increased competition for school places is leading parents to move home in order to get the child into a desired school. Indeed, rental households with children don’t seem to move very far, in fact on average they only move half a mile, considerably less than the 3 mile average across the private rented sector in general. These short distance moves reflect the precise nature of school catchment areas and the fine margins involved.
It has long been accepted that those purchasing homes within desired school catchments will pay a premium and this is now also feeding into the rental sector. In 2015 the average tenant living within a kilometre of an outstanding school paid 14% more than those living more than a kilometre away. In the scenario where catchments are particularly tight, a house on one side of the street can be let for 15-20% more than an identically home on the opposite side that doesn’t fall within the catchment.
With 1.6 million families with children living in the private rental sector, school catchments are becoming increasingly relevant. In many cases parents are taking advantage of the flexibility that renting offers and the opportunities it presents in ensuring their child’s entry to their desired school is secured. Savvy landlords who are looking to expand their portfolio could do well by considering the importance of school catchments going forward.