Grammar schools 'add pounds 70,000 to house prices'

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The Independent Online
POPULAR SCHOOLS are adding tens of thousands of pounds to house prices as parents vie to gain places, according to a survey published yesterday.

In some areas, houses in the catchment area of a state school with a good reputation could command premiums of up to pounds 70,000.

Estate agent Knight Frank, which has published a list of the schools most requested by househunters, said the few remaining state grammar schools in counties such as Kent and Buckinghamshire were creating the greatest demand with affluent families moving out of London.

The figures came as the agency published a list of the schools most requested by househunters.

"Being in a good catchment area could be the difference between a pounds 430,000 house and it being the best part of pounds 500,000," said Andrew Harwood, of Knight Frank's Tunbridge Wells office, which covers Kent and East Sussex.

"A good school can push the price up by 10 per cent as a rule of thumb. A good grammar school in an area is always popular."

In Kent, Cranbrook School, a grant-maintained grammar school that was founded in 1518 and granted a royal charter by Elizabeth I, emerged as the most popular with well-heeled housebuyers.

Another leading grammar school, Dr Challoners' High in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, was most popular with househunters in that area.

The Royal Grammar School in Guildford, Surrey, Leeds Grammar School and Malvern College, Worcestershire, were all rated highly by prospective housebuyers.

The survey found that the trend away from boarding at independent schools had also had a marked effect, and among those that do board many go home for weekends. "The result is that as well as those families looking for homes near day schools, the families of boarders are looking for weekend cottages," said Rupert Sweeting, a partner in the firm.

According to the survey, parents were prepared to drive further when taking their children to a popular school, sometimes accepting a journey of more than 20 minutes to the school gate.

But the survey found reputation counted for more than results alone; the schools most requested by househunters did not always top the examination league tables.