The School Catchment Crisis: How high Ofsted ratings are driving up house prices

Average house prices in top school locations 

Posted on 31 Jan 2019

•Average price of house in England where schools have Ofsted rating 1 is £331,605, costing almost £40,000 more than areas with Ofsted rating of 2.6

•Most sought-after postcodes for top schools in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds

•Average house prices in top school locations 

•Most Expensive postcode in England if you want your child to attend an outstanding school

A recent study conducted by using Ofsted data, calculates just how much, on average, it will cost you to live within areas of the most sought-after schools. 

School admission rules are mainly based on location – your child needs to live in the catchment area to stand a chance at being accepted. However, England faces a problem where the number of school pupils outstrips the number of places available, meaning the school catchment crisis is more prevalent than ever2

So, to ensure their child is accepted, how much should parents expect to pay to live near the best primary and secondary schools out there?

Home owners should expect to fork out £331,605 on average to live near an OUTSTANDING school5

Experts at analysed the Ofsted ratings of 20,545 primary and secondary schools in England and found that the average house price increases considerably the better the local school.3

Ofsted rating School count Estimated house price by Ofsted rating
1 – Outstanding 4,168 £331,605
2 – Good 13,558 £292,933
3 – Requires Improvement 2,137 £253,121
4 – Inadequate 356 £235,242

The average house price near an OUTSTANDING primary and secondary school is at £331,605.5

This decreases to an average of £292,933 for GOOD Ofsted rating. Houses in school catchment zones with an Ofsted rating of 3 and 4 cost £253,121 and £235,242, respectively.5 

The top 10 schools with the cheapest houses nearby

When looking at the schools with an OUTSTANDING rating – the study found that although the average price to pay to live locally came out at £331,605, there are several postcodes that you could live in with house prices well under £100,000. 5

In total there are 4,168 schools that have received a top-level Ofsted rating however these are the top 10 with the cheapest house prices nearby7:

Data table

On the other hand, the research also reveals that in London you could be paying up to £1.7 million just to be accepted into the best schools locally3

Living within a catchment area of London’s top-rated schools could cost you millions 

The data by reveals that the average house price in London close to an ‘outstanding’ primary/secondary is £635,949, whereas living in an area with a ‘good’ Ofsted rating reduces the house price by £41,069.4 

Buying a house in an area near a school that has received an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating is considerably cheaper, costing £461,273.4

The top 10 schools with the highest house prices nearby


Data table

England’s Top- Rated Schools Vs House Prices 

Sunderland is the best value place to live in England if you want your child to attend a top-rated school

Birmingham is home to the highest number of top-rated schools (160) and average house prices by Ofsted rating fall below the national average (£327,285), at £248,504.5 

However, Sunderland is the cheapest place to live if you want your child to attend a school a high-performing school, with house prices costing an average of just £114,157. Buying a house near an outstanding school in Western Central London, on the other hand, will cost you a staggering £1,345,614. 4
SW7 is the most expensive postcode in England if you want your child to attend an outstanding school

Unsurprisingly, the most expensive postcode for an outstanding school is SW77. Covering the area of South Kensington and part of Knightsbridge, living in SW7 will set you back a whopping £1,795,725 on average5. House prices near an outstanding school in LE1 (Winstanley in Leicester) however, only costs an average of £117,064.5 

A spokesperson for says: “Buying a home near a good school is something parents start thinking about years before the time comes.

But what they might not realise is how much this is going to cost them. We found that those looking to move near a school with an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating could be paying almost £40,000 more than those rated ‘Good’, on average.

“There is a lot to consider when applying for schools, and it can be quite confusing for parents who might not know where to start! So we’ve created a guide to buying a house in a good catchment area, which highlights some of the key considerations and things parents can explore to help them get their child into their school of choice, without forking out for a new house.”


Notes to Editor
The full Catchment Crisis study can be found here.

Table 1 and 2 represents data which was collated and analysed by through various sources stated below. Full Data is available upon request.

Data taken from Ofsted and analysed against average house prices for each city. 

Ofsted rating denotes the following:

1: Outstanding
2: Good
3: Requires improvement
4. Inadequate

Referenced Sources
3. This is the number of schools used in the calculation of the estimated house price. Data retrieved from: and
4. Estimated house price by Ofsted rating: calculated by averaging the estimated house prices over a postcode region, by number of schools with X Ofsted rating in the whole region. Data retrieved from: and
5. Average House Price data:
6. Ofsted Ratings:
7. School Addresses to Match with Ofsted Ratings:
8. Postcode Regions:  


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