Nick Churton of Mayfair Office comments on an increasingly important factor in the property market.
Nick says "Forget about April showers, in the property market it’s the brainy season. In homes across the nation students are gearing up for important examinations. But further down the education time line parents of younger children are also being put to the test. Whether one agrees with the schools’ selection system or not, today a postcode can have as much to do with where a child attends primary or secondary school as their academic potential.
Whilst parents may not always be able to influence their offspring’s ability as much as they would like, they certainly can influence where their child is educated. Moving to a favoured school’s catchment area can certainly increase a child's chances of getting a place at that school. But there are some important steps to take before making the move.
It is essential to check with the local education authority about their criteria for placement before making any major decisions. Then it’s best to speak to a chosen school and ask them the same question. Once confident that the school of choice will have availability then moving home may very well be worth doing.
Applying in plenty of time for a place is very important so this is the time of year that anxious parents consider a location that promises the best education for their child. After all, selling an existing property and buying a new one does take time.
But it is not just the primary and secondary sector that is testing parents right now. Those with offspring going to university also have some important homework to do. Student accommodation is expensive and for parents who intend to purchase a flat or small house, both for investment and accommodation purposes, now is the time to be looking. City centre flat prices are just about as low as they go right now and this is a great time to get into the market.
Whatever the requirements for a child’s education the sensible move is to talk to a good local estate agent – perhaps one of parental age who has lived in the area for some time. He or she will be able to give a huge amount of useful information about neighbourhoods, security, transport, lifestyle and, of course, housing.
In the meantime if you have particularly strong feelings about the state schools’ selection system or about university fees, loans and grants very soon there is an ideal opportunity to have your say in the government’s very own examination room - the polling station!"