8 July 2021

School Zones… where education meets real estate

Education is often said to be the best foundation for a better future. So when it comes to taking a considered approach to your biggest family investment, education should be a key factor!

Across the Waikato, our Real Estate Sales Team often find that savvy residential property buyers are adding ‘good school zone’ to their list of non-negotiables. Why? 

Here at Lugtons, we understand how these zones have an impact on the perceived, and actual, value of a property in a sought-after area. So, whether you’re buying or selling, let’s head back to the classroom to explain how to leverage this market condition. 

Family-first locations

Most investors understand there is a relationship between schools and property values. A home in a good school zone invariably costs more than a comparable home in a less desirable area. 

Usually, people who look to buy in popular school zones want to provide the best possible education for their children. But there are other reasons why house prices tend to be higher in good school areas across New Zealand.

Families conscious of their carbon footprint want their children to be within walking or cycling distance of their local school. The concept of children having friends nearby also has strong appeal, as does growing up within an established neighbourhood where streets are child-friendly rather than a major traffic thoroughfare.

Then there are the proposed restrictions on zoning, in a bid to control student numbers at popular schools, which the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand has predicted will increase house prices even further.

The value of a good school zone

As an example of the price divide and how perception can affect and escalate the hike that comes with wanting to live in a good school zone, we need look no further than Hamilton’s Bankwood Road. On the northern side of Comries Road, homes are zoned for the coveted Hukanui Primary School; to the south, zoning is for Bankwood Primary School.

Recent Lugtons’ sales reveal the perceived value home buyers place on these different, albeit the same, areas.

  • Hukanui School Zone: a three-bed, one lounge, and one bathroom sold for $820,000.
  • Bankwood Primary School Zone: a three-bed, one lounge, and two bathroom sold for $705,000.
  • Bankwood Primary School Zone (but close to Comries Road): a three-bed, two lounge, two bathroom, sold for $749,000. 

How to buy in a sellers’ market

If you’re looking to purchase a property in a good school zone, but don’t have the budget, there are ways you can purchase in a desired area. 

  1. Find a buyer specialist with an extensive network. Properties in good school zones tend to go quickly, but a buyer specialist can help you get your foot in the door. 
  2. Know your options. Do you need to live in a freehold property, or is an apartment an option? What about cross-lease land? If your budget won’t reach as far as you need, talk to our sales team about possible alternatives.
  3. Complete your due diligence. You want to ensure a property will continue to grow in value and doesn’t cause you any issues, which is why it’s important to complete your due diligence. A Solicitor’s Approval Clause, Building Report, and LIM Report are all optional for buyers. Use them wisely. 

How to leverage your location

Sellers, we haven’t forgotten about you. Yes, proximity to popular schools is a great selling point, but if you don’t lay the foundations, you could sell yourself and your property short.

  1. Choose a real estate company that will partner with you, and other real estate firms. Surprisingly, different companies have different policies for allowing access to buyers’ agents and walkthroughs. Make sure you check each real estate company's policies to ensure you can reach a pool of ready-to-buy investors. 
  2. Strike the perfect balance with open homes. If your property is close to a school, plan all viewings and open homes outside of school hours so potential buyers will see your home in its best possible light. 
  3. Stage your home. Display your home in the most effective way possible. Thankfully, we have many resources to help you with this process!

Talk to the team at Lugtons

Whether you are a buyer looking to purchase in a good school zone or a seller getting ready to hit the market, the team at Lugtons are here to help you. 

With all the latest information, statistics and regional updates on school zones, we can help you navigate your way into a home that suits you and your (future?) children's needs. 

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