Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  01 Feb 2010

PROPERTY: High Demand for Homes Close to Good Schools


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Emigration may have slowed, but there’s still a lot of “edugration” going on in SA and it can be expected to increase as parents do their best to get their children into good schools.

So says Tjaart van der Walt, CEO of the RealNet property group, who notes: “The matric results released last week have once again shone a spotlight on the success of certain schools, and this combined with the recently-revived Sunday Times Top 100 Schools survey will no doubt prompt more families to move to live closer to such institutions.

“And this will of course have growing implications for the residential property market. As it is, homes in the suburbs that contain State and private schools with a reputation for excellence are always in demand, and able to command better-than-average prices even in a depressed market. Examples of such areas are Kensington, Parktown and Bryanston."

In recent years, he says, there has also been a noticeable increase in the number of black families buying flats and townhouses close to former Model C schools because they want to have an address in the catchment areas for these schools, where there are a limited number of places available. Last year’s top school, Westerford High, was for example only able to accept 170 of more than 800 applications for a Grade 8 slot.

“This trend has been fuelled by the consistently poor performance of many ‘township’ schools, and by rising fuel and transport costs, which have made it very costly to send children from the townships long distances to suburban schools by bus or taxi, as was common in the Nineties.”

Meanwhile, says Van der Walt, certain areas have experienced an influx of family buyers following the establishment of new private schools. A case in point is the Silver Lakes area to the east of Pretoria, where three new schools have been established in the past few years.

“And at the top end of the market, it has become very clear that lifestyle estates that wish to attract family buyers now need to establish their own schools - perhaps in partnership with a ‘brand’ such as Reddam or Curro - unless they are very close to an already-renowned institution.

“Thanks to technology, many people who would choose to live on an estate mostly for reasons of family security find they can now also work from home much of the time, and avoid having to commute to their offices much. This makes it even more important to them to have shops, entertainment and most of all good schooling right on their doorsteps.”

In short, he says, proximity to a top-rated school is set to become a major factor in home purchasing decisions for families, and a marketing advantage for home sellers – although they should consult with an experienced estate agent before making any decision to adjust their asking price.

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