How much more should you be prepared to pay for a home where your children can attend a highly ranked public school?
Even if your children haven’t reached school age yet, chances are you’re already aware of important choices ahead for their education. If you’re putting together a wish list for buying a home, access to good schools could even be your highest priority. But should you be prepared to pay a high premium for a home in the right zone?
Paying for an education
According to the latest figures from the Australian Scholarships Group Planning for Education Index, the total cost of sending a child born in 2016 to an independent private school in a metropolitan area for their entire education is expected to be $468,397.
So shelling out for a private education can be like a half a million dollar hit to the pocket. And that’s just for one child! In a buoyant real estate market, you’d stand to make a substantial amount in capital growth putting just some of that money towards buying property in an area that’s zoned for a high performing, public school.
Top performing schools
To find out where the hot spots are for a top-notch public education, there are a few different online resources you can use. The MySchool portal is created by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). You can search here for NAPLAN scores, funding information and enrolment levels for a particular school.
If you’re after a comparison table to see how different schools rank overall, Australian School Rankings is pretty comprehensive. They offer state-by-state ranking tables of the top 100 primary and secondary schools. You can view a combined list or filter by non-government or government only.
Top performing suburbs
So just how deep do your pockets need to be for a home in the right catchment area? Let’s compare the 2015 top ten highest-ranking government high schools in Victoria from Australian School Rankings with the latest list of Melbourne’s suburbs with a median house value of $1 million+ from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.
Of the schools in the top 10, only one falls outside of this list, the Suzanne Cory High School in Werribee (4). To buy a home in the zone for any of the other nine schools, expect to pay around $1,683,000 for a guaranteed place at Balwyn High School (9) and $1,140,500 for access to an education at Glenn Waverley Secondary College (7).
Your family values
Before deciding to spend big to give your child a head start at school, think about what your family values most. Although education is always going to be important, you need quality time together for your family to thrive. So it might be worth weighing up the value of having some household budget to dedicate to favourite hobbies and regular family holidays against the cost of private school fees or a mortgage for a $1 million+ home.
Are you thinking about moving home for your child’s future schooling? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.