Edinburgh’s popular schools bumping up property prices

Property prices in the most popular catchment areas are significantly higher. Picture: Callum Bennetts
Property prices in the most popular catchment areas are significantly higher. Picture: Callum Bennetts
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PARENTS in the Capital face paying a property “premium” running to tens of thousands of pounds to ensure children are able to enrol at its most desirable state schools.

New figures from the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) show homes located within the catchment area of primaries such as Sciennes and Flora Stevenson are significantly more expensive than those in surrounding districts.

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The trend adds to the pressure on families in the race for places at highly regarded schools, amid increasing house prices and rising rolls.

ESPC experts have warned it may be necessary to “compromise” on features, such as a garden or storage space, when buying a home.

According to the findings – described as “crude” by a city councillor – the average price in the Flora Stevenson catchment is just over £296,000, compared to around £260,000 in neighbouring Comely Bank and nearly £222,000 in Fettes.

Mums and dads looking to register children at Sciennes Primary are likely to pay £294,702 – up from £253,994 in the wider Newington area.

Across Edinburgh as a whole, the mean home value is currently £222,449.

An ESPC spokeswoman said: “With exam league tables and inspection reports on school performance readily available, homes in the school catchment areas for the best performing schools often sell for substantially higher than the average selling price of properties nearby.

“So when it comes to choosing a property, parents may have to stretch their budget or compromise on other key property features such as storage space and large gardens.

“Getting in to the right catchment area can make the decision on choosing where to buy even harder.”

Parents today said the difference in values was a reflection of many families’ determination to move into particular catchments.

Rob Coward, 53, whose children are in P4 and P6 at Stockbridge Primary, said: “It’s a bit of a pressure-cooker.

“There are a lot of parents looking for a relatively small number of places in so-called good schools. I sense that pressure as a parent, talking to other parents. It’s very stressful.

“I know parents do move into a catchment area [and] that they place value on that. Would some parents compromise [on home features]? I’m absolutely sure some would.”

The ESPC also released figures for city secondaries.

Although the larger catchment areas associated with high schools mean differences in value are less clear-cut, the data shows homes located close to admired campuses come with higher price tags.

Properties near Broughton High sell for around £246,000, compared to £221,695 in Fettes, £165,686 in Granton and £231,748 in Stockbridge.

Green councillor Melanie Main, education spokeswoman, said: “This report from ESPC sounds laughably crude, based on broad-brush house price comparisons without taking account of the very many different characteristics of properties and neighbourhoods which people find attractive.

“I’d recommend that parents ignore this report, and look beyond simplistic slogans of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ schools, and focus instead on what is actually happening in schools – how staff are working with young people, what activities they offer, what kind of support staff are able to provide for young people.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com