Buying a home within a good school district is not only a good idea for those with families, but also a smart investment decision – even if you don’t yet have, or may never have, children.
In fact, the quality of the schools is a more important factor in buying decisions than proximity to shopping, or even family and friends, as homes that are close to good schools are often in higher demand and fetch higher prices.
Real estate is a great long-term investment strategy, so Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says in order to generate a return, you need to live in the home for roughly five to ten years to allow it enough time to appreciate in value.
“If children are in the cards for you within that period then it would be wise to consider the various schooling districts before you decide where you would want to situate yourself.”
Beyond future-proofing the home to suit your lifestyle, Nadia Aucamp, broker manager of RE/MAX All Stars, explains that making a school decision first is a good way to approach your new home purchase.
“Research shows that the quality of the schools is a more important factor in buying decisions than proximity to shopping, or even family and friends. So, it will make it easier to re-sell your home when it’s time to move on.”
However, because of the high demand for these areas, property prices can become quite steep. Looking at trends in Gauteng, she explains that there are a variety of top public and private schools and varying price points.
“Marais Viljoen High School has always been one of the top schools in the country and is nestled in Alberton. You are able to get a small sectional title, two-bedroom unit within walking distance from the school from R700,000. However, on the high-end scale, there are properties in Alberante and Meyersdal that can reach a whopping R35m.”
Athlone Boys High and St Mary’s School are two of the top private schools situated in Kensington and Waverley, and entry-level property prices for these areas will be R320,000 for a one-bedroom unit in Kensington and R590,000 for a one-bedroom unit in Waverley.
“Top-end prices in Waverley can reach up to R12m and, in Kensington, R6m,” Aucamp says.
Whether you are considering luxury or more budget-friendly options, Goslett shares the following advice to consider before deciding upon a school district.
– Find out what the school fees are
If you plan on having children, school fees will eventually become part of your monthly budget. Knowing this in advance can help you budget effectively and is likely to affect what house you can afford.
– Consider your commute
While being near to a desirable school is important, you will also need to factor in your commute to the office and whether you will be able to manage the school drop off and still get to work on time.
– Conduct your research first
Look into the school zoning boundaries as this can affect your eligibility for certain schools. If both parents have full time jobs, it is also a good idea to check that there are good aftercare options in the area.
Property experts say other good reasons for buying a home in a good school district include:
- Quality of education: Good school districts usually have well-funded schools, experienced teachers, and comprehensive educational programs. This means your children are likely to receive a high-quality education, which can significantly impact their future opportunities.
- Property value: Homes in good school districts tend to hold their values better over time. When it comes to selling your home, a desirable school district can attract more potential buyers, leading to a higher resale value.
- Stability: Good school districts often attract stable, family-oriented communities. These neighbourhoods tend to have lower crime rates and offer a sense of security and community, making them ideal for raising a family.
- Networking opportunities: Living in a neighbourhood with families who prioritise education can provide valuable networking opportunities for both you and your children. Connections made in such communities can be beneficial in various aspects of life.
The Seeff Property Group adds that buyers with kids will often migrate and be drawn to properties situated in good school zones and are, thus, likely prepared to pay more. These properties are also excellent buy-to-let investment options because the demand to live in these areas is always high, which makes the properties easy to rent out.
“The demand yields a higher rental income and the rental periods are usually longer because families will often choose to stay in the area while their children attend the local schools. In areas close to good universities the demand for student housing is always high.”
Because we all know that getting kids to wake up early in the morning and prepare for school is a battle fought by parents every single day, Seeff says a bonus of living near to your children’s schools means everyone in the family can sleep in a little longer and enjoy more quality time together.