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A Smart Investment: Property in Education Zones

One of the biggest decisions for a parent is deciding which school their children will one day attend. Some start researching their children’s education institutions from birth – or even before. The competition for space in good schools is increasing every year, so much so that some parents are on the waiting list before they even fall pregnant.

“There is a tremendous demand for homes close to good schools or universities, as properties in these zones tend to hold their value much better in tough economic times. Buyers that have kids will often migrate and be drawn to these areas and are likely prepared to pay a premium for these properties” says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

South Africa - Property in Education Zones.jpg

Education zones have also become a popular consideration for many people who don’t have kids as they will purchase property as a buy-to-let investment option. Investing in a school / varsity district will mean that the properties are easy to rent out. This high demand yields a higher rental income, and the rental periods are usually longer as the families will most likely wish for their child to complete their schooling career before relocating.  “Interest in student housing has become increasingly popular over the years with the demand growing more and more as urban areas extend to, what used to be, outlying areas and travelling becomes ever more difficult with relation to fuel prices and transport costs” Craig notes.

Buying a house is usually for the long haul, so having an education institution in your neighbourhood can boost your property’s value. However it is important that you understand with the many benefits, there come some nuisances that cannot be avoided. We take a look at some of the benefits as well as the possible negatives of owning property in an education zone:

The Benefits:

  • Future planning - you will not have to worry about moving closer to a school when your children reach school-going age.
  • Higher property values - if the home is in a good school zone, the higher your resale value will be when the time comes to sell your house.
  • Easy to sell or rent -homes close to schools tend to have a constant demand, so if you choose to sell or rent your home down the line, finding a buyer or tenant will be much easier.
  • Safe neighbourhood - areas with schools generally tend to be safer to live in as they are well monitored and inhabited by people that are as concerned with safety /security as you are.
  • Child friendly environment - kids will have more time and opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities. Being able to walk to these areas is a plus, especially for working parents with multiple children.
  • Time saving - eliminates wasted time and sitting in traffic.
  • Cost saving - the expense of driving to and from school ads up, living close to school decreases extra fuel costs.

Take into consideration:

  • Traffic - expect increased traffic and noise of idling cars when parents drop kids off and collect them again at the end of the day.
  • Parking - parents might park in front of your house while waiting for their kids at pick-up or drop-off time as well as when there are school events occurring.
  • Noise - you might hear kids practicing their sport on a weekly basis after school and on weekends. Depending on the proximity, you might even hear the school bell ringing between classes and kids during playing break times.
  • Loitering - if your house is extremely close to the school, scholars might loiter around your house while waiting to be picked up. They might wreak havoc with graffiti, noise, and other teenage up-to-no-good activities.

“It is always worthwhile exploring ones options. Speak to an area specialist, who will be able to advise you on past area trends and statistics, as well as assist with predicting what the market could be doing in the next few years” Craig advised. Remember that this is your largest asset, and you need to ensure you make the right choice.

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