In the zone: 1 Hall Street in McKinnon is in the sought-after local secondary college catchment. Local school catchments are now included on all Domain listings.
Demand for homes in top state school zones is sending property prices in those areas straight to the top of the class.
Real estate agents say mum and dad buyers are forking out, on average, 10 to 15 per cent more to acquire a house within the boundary of an esteemed Victorian government college.
Parents happy to pay a premium to secure their child a seat at a reputable secondary school are keeping one eye on real estate listings and the other on annual VCE results.
Until now, buyers often needed to contact the school to determine if a property was within the catchment.
But on Wednesday Domain launched a new feature on its website called School Zone, which provides the school catchments for every property listing.
One agent said the competition at auctions was “vicious”, because there are limited properties in catchments that guarantee enrolment.
McKinnon Secondary College is among Melbourne’s most respected and high-performing government schools and its zone is hot among prospective buyers.
Buxton agent and auctioneer Simon Pintado said properties inside the boundary attract an extra 10 to 15 per cent in price than those in streets just outside the red line.
Mr Pintado, from the agency’s Bentleigh office, said he was approached regularly by prospective buyers who wanted to buy only in the zone and wouldn’t even consider a property outside the perimeter.
The McKinnon zone had become more in demand over the past five years, but its popularity could be tracked back to a decade ago, Mr Pintado said.
Buyers preferred to invest a premium of $50,000 to $100,000 in a school-zoned property, rather than pay that sum in private schools fees, he said.
“It is already a proven performer. If that trend continues, buyers have an opportunity to make tremendous gains.”
Mr Pintado has newly listed 1 Hall Street in McKinnon – an elegant, three-bedroom renovated California bungalow – with the added cachet of being in the local school enrolment area.
Vendor Anne-Maree Louden and her husband Simon have owned the Hall Street property for 12 years, moving in just before the boom in the school’s popularity.
Ms Louden said she was aware the school’s success and good name had “held the market up” in the suburb.
Some zones, including for popular Strathmore Secondary College in Melbourne’s north-west, have been altered over the years by the education department, sparking anger among local families.
But the nearer the home is to the school, the safer the investment, which puts properties within walking distance of a campus on buyers’ most-wanted lists.
“Because we are so close to the school we knew we were always going to be in the zone,” Ms Louden said.
Hocking Stuart agent David Wood, who specialises in the Albert Park area, said the secondary school in the upmarket suburb has had an influence on prices.
Albert Park College re-opened in 2011 and Mr Wood said a premium of about 15 per cent is added to homes in its enrolment border.
Mr Wood said family buyers were making a long-term commitment to live and educate their children in the area and were seeking homes they could renovate or extend as their needs changed.
“The school is a huge driving factor [in the property market],” he said.
“We see a lot of people who are trying to buy homes [in the enrolment zone] and that puts pressure on the market for homes that are bigger than two bedrooms.”Continue reading »