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Australia’s fastest growing school zones revealed

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Speed limits may be slower in school zones, but property price growth certainly is not. Photo: Shutterstock

Australia’s fastest growing school zones revealed

Catchment zones around desirable schools are still delivering big premiums over the gains recorded in the wider property market, even as home values continue to reach new highs across the country.

Catchment zones around desirable schools are still delivering big premiums over the gains recorded in the wider property market, even as home values continue to reach new highs across the country.

While capital city median house prices have risen 20.5 per cent in the 12 months to the end of August to surpass $826,000, homes located in sought-after school zones have been posting even more significant gains.

Domain’s annual School Zone Report showed the top 10 primary and secondary school catchment zones recorded at least 38 per cent price growth in the 12 months to the end of July, up from 29 per cent over the same period in 2020.

Across all capital cities, 88 per cent of primary school catchment zones and 94 per cent of secondary school zones recorded house price growth over the year.

And nearly half of Australia’s school zones recorded price growth that outperformed the suburb in which they were located.

“It’s astonishing to see that starting on a high base of house prices, some school catchment zones are achieving 10 to 20 per cent more than the suburb they are located in,”  Domain chief of research and economics Nicola Powell said. 

“It shows that Australians are prepared to pay for easy access to public schools.”

Dr Powell said school zones had long been a key part of the property buying decision-making process for owner-occupiers as well as investors.

“When people are looking for a home, they’re looking for a lifestyle, and education is a big part of that picture, be it in the inner-city suburbs or the coastal regions of Australia,” Dr Powell said.

Drilling down on the top 10 school zones for price growth, Dr Powell said locations were spread across inner, middle and outer suburban areas, with many sharing desirable lifestyle characteristics such as proximity to the beach or national parks.

“Due to a shift in lifestyle such as flexible working and ongoing COVID impacts, people are spending more time at home and desire properties that have easy access to beaches and parks,” she said.

“House price growth is evident in school catchment zones close to natural environments, making them ideal for families to live in."

Australia’s fastest growing school zone for the year was located in Mount Eliza, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

Homes in the catchment zone of Kunyung Primary School appreciated at a rate of 45.7 per cent over the year, compared to 32.5 per cent growth overall in Mount Eliza.

Barrenjoey High School’s catchment zone in Sydney’s Northern Beaches rose at a 45 per cent rate, while Avalon Beach’s median house price increased by 30.1 per cent.

Of the top 10 school catchment zones for price growth, the largest disparity between a school zone and a suburb was recorded in Cronulla.

The school zone around Burraneer Bay Public school’s median house price rose 44.8 per cent in the past 12 months, while the zone around Cronulla High School posted a 39.6 per cent gain.

At the same time, Cronulla’s median house price rose by 4.6 per cent.

“Secondary school catchment zones in Sydney had a bigger influence on house prices than primary school catchment zones, a reverse trend compared to last year, indicating private school fees have weighed on household budgets at a time of escalating house prices, weak wages growth and economic uncertainty of the past year,” Dr Powell said.

In Melbourne, Richmond Primary School’s catchment zone also posted a substantial premium over its suburb’s price growth, as the zone’s median house price gained 39.6 per cent over the year.

At the same time, the Richmond median house price gained 6.2 per cent.

Brisbane’s biggest gaining school zone was located in the inner city suburb of West End, with the school zone around West End State School posting a 41.7 gain in home values over the year.

Outer city suburbs, however, made up most of the top five locations for school zone-related elevated growth in Brisbane, with zones in Shailer Park, Kilcoy and Cleveland posting gains ranging from 34.4 percent to 38.2 per cent.

In Western Australia, the school zone around Eastern Hills Senior High School posted an annual price gain of 41.8 per cent, while the suburb it’s located in, Mount Helena, posted a gain of 14.4 per cent.

Perth’s fastest growing school zones were also dotted across the metropolitan area, from prestige suburb Dalkeith to coastal Scarborough, while also touching more affordable southern suburbs in South Lake and Canning Vale.

Each of the top five school zones in Perth posted annual gains of more than 31 per cent.

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