Number of parents moving to their desired school catchment area is increasing, according to Santander research

Bank's director of mortgages urges young parents not to 'stretch themselves beyond their means'

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The Independent Online

The extent to which parents are resorting to to live within their desired school catchment area has been revealed in new research from Santander Mortgages as competition for places at the UK’s best schools continues to increase.

The bank surveyed just over 4,500 people to find families are prepared to spend over £32,000 to be near their most sought after school – significantly more than the average full-time UK salary of £27,195.

The research recognised how the sacrifices being made by families goes far beyond financial, with 31 per cent having changed jobs as a result of the move. 25 per cent said they were forced to downsize, whilst another 31 per cent admitted to moving into an area they did not like.

A further 26 per cent admit they overstretched themselves – by paying more for the property than they could realistically afford – and 33 per cent moved to a location that was too far from other family or friends.

However, the bank’s study also highlighted how such moves are only temporary. Despite 22 per cent saying they planned to continue living in the area, 45 per cent said they had, or would, move straight back out once their child had secured a place. A further 30 per cent said they would wait until their child finished school.

The managing director of mortgages at Santander UK, Miguel Sard, acknowledged how competition for school places was fiercer than ever, resulting in parents making significant financial and lifestyle sacrifices in order to be nearer their ideal school.

Despite buyers having a ‘wish list’ of what they want their new home to have, he warned how such moves can often come at a cost for young families.

He said: “Many of these sought-after areas command significant premiums, so it’s important that parents don’t stretch themselves beyond their means if they are looking to move.”

On the whole, younger parents the most likely to purchase or rent a new property to be within a certain catchment area with 46 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 having done so, compared to just 18 per cent of 35 to 54-year-olds.

The age of the child also appears to have an impact as 33 per cent of parents who have children aged between four and 10 have moved, compared to just 24 per cent of parents with children aged 11 to 15, and 14 per cent for those with children aged 16 to 18.

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