Brisbane school catchments and real estate prices
If you saw the TV news in the past few days you might have caught the vision of anxious parents who’d camped out for 30-40 hours to secure their kiddies a spot in a popular northside Brisbane primary school. Lined up so their 2015 preppies can be part of a school with a reputation for excellence.
And there was only one way to beat the queue – to live inside the school’s mandated geographical boundaries.
Buying a home to get a child into a certain school isn’t a new idea in Brisbane’s inner city. We’ve been doing it for years, with Ironside in St Lucia, Ascot and South Brisbane’s State High examples of regular talking points for local real estate agents. The government website for Brisbane school catchments is on most agents’ bookmarks and you’ll see pointers to school catchments on most ads for property sales. If you live inside the line you are guaranteed a place.
In suburbs like Woolloongabba the line for Brisbane State High School catchment splits the neighbourhoods (generally following the M1) and buyer and tenant demand can be vastly different depending on where your property sits.
So what does it mean for the Brisbane real estate market?
If you’re pre-kids, post-kids or ‘dogs-are-my-kids’ and the school catchments aren’t of interest, you can save money by stepping outside the most sought-after zones when you’re buying a home. Similarly renting one street outside that blue line can save you weekly dollars. We are well aware (as are many real estate agencies) of tenants who relocate their families to be inside a catchment, often making it a temporary or part-time home to qualify. One home buyer recently told us openly that he had no intention of living in a local property, but would buy simply to beat the school system.
With Brisbane’s highest profile secondary schools now commanding annual fees of over $20,000 per child, and with many believing a similar education can come from some of the best state (and free) schools, local catchments can and do add enormously to real estate prices.
But buyers beware. Those blue lines on the maps have changed before and they may change again. Unless you’re living in a caravan it’s hard to shuffle your home back into the ‘blue zone’.
Have you moved to be part of a school catchment? Think it’s all nonsense? Please share your comments!