Now’s a good time to sell homes near schools

More and more family buyers want to live really close to good schools now, and this is boosting home sales and prices in suburbs like Parkhurst in Johannesburg, Rondebosch in Cape Town and Durban North, which are all known for their proximity to several excellent schools, as well as in gated estates like Dainfern and Cornwall Hill that have their own schools.
Consequently, says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterBond, SA’s leading mortgage origination group, this might be a good time for those who live in such areas but who don’t have school going children, to consider selling.
On the other hand, it might also be a good time for those who are planning a family to start looking for a home in a suburb with good schools - before prices rise any further.
“The main reason for the ‘edugration’ trend is the huge demand for places in the top schools, which has forced most of them to impose strict rules about only taking new learners from their immediate catchment areas.
“Thus if you don’t live in the right suburb, your children probably won’t be able to go to the school of your choice.”
Another reason, he says, is the ever-rising petrol price, “which means that the cost of driving children to and from a distant school and to any extramural activities, added to the cost of commuting to work, could impact significantly on the household budget”.
This is why, if one examines the suburban buying patterns related to schools, properties within walking distance are “ideal” and generally attract a premium price. Thereafter, as the radius of travelling distance extends from the focal point of the school, homes prices decline.
Similarly, home prices in estates with their own schools or very close to a sought-after institution tend to be higher than those in developments where parents still have to transport their children to school.
Related to this, says Rademeyer, another important consideration for family buyers is the range of extramural activities offered by their preferred schools. “If children are able to participate in their after-school sports and cultural activities on the school premises, this obviously cuts down on afternoon trips for parents – and if they and their friends can then walk or cycle home in a safe environment, so much the better.”

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