It seems like house prices across Britain are rising all the time, making life harder and harder for first time buyers, retirees and everyone in between. Alongside this, as always, are bizarre reports of the super-rich, who can afford to rent in Mayfair without even breaking a mild, nervous sweat. In the slightly more normal world, however, are those who can afford to pay a bit of a premium on average house prices, with the right incentive.
One of the main requirements for a lot of buyers is being close to at least one good school – for most families this is an essential requirement when they’re house hunting. Many private and independent schools are generally located in picturesque villages or wealthy London boroughs, which drives house prices up anyway, but regardless of the location, people are willing to pay a significant premium to be as close as possible to the extensive school grounds.
If anything, it’s even harder for those who don’t want to pay private school fees for the next ten years. When it comes to living in the right catchment area for a place at a popular and successful state school, the premiums can be eye-watering, but still more economical than the cost of an independent boarding school. Private schools often have boarding facilities, so it doesn’t particularly matter where the parents live, but state schools often have strict catchment areas, especially when places are in such high demand. Owning a property in the right catchment area for a top state school in England can cost around £21,000 more than similar properties in the same county. Whether you see it as a great investment for your child’s future or think it is totally unreasonable, there are some who are more than willing to let it dictate their entire house hunt.
What about other location aspects? A sea view can add anything from 25-60% to existing property prices, according to a survey done by Prime Location. “Uninterrupted sea views in blue-chip towns and villages command up to a 50% premium”, said Tim Dansie of Jackson-Stops & Staff. These are commonly in places like Bournemouth, Brighton and Devon. Homes by the sea often appeal to those seeking a holiday home, which means “easily-managed properties under £150,000 like bungalows and flats sell the best”.
There are locations further north, however, that demand less of a high price. Rural Northumberland is sparsely populated, coastal and very affordable, and many locations along Scotland’s West Coast only attract prices that are around 20% more expensive than inland.
No matter what the motivation, there are always people willing to increase their budget to afford what they consider to be necessities. And whether it’s seeing their child get good A-levels or looking out over a coastal horizon, who can blame them?