Schools, property prices and our North Coast. Gareth Bailey looks at how top quality schools lead to premium property prices.
Globally, people are prepared to pay a premium for properties in suburbs that have good schools. Our North Coast property belt is developing at a relentless rate, but are there sufficient plans in place to deliver quality schools and tertiary institutions to meet the educational needs of these suburbs? In the long run, the establishment of quality schools and universities in these areas will have a significant effect on the strength of these property markets.
According to the London School of Economics LSE, a 2006 study in the UK showed that people were prepared to pay substantially more for properties close to good state schools. According to Steve Gibbons, a professor at the LSE, “A primary school one standard deviation above the average in terms of the performance of its pupils … attracts a house price premium of around 3%. This means that a school right at the top of the league tables attracts a premium of around 12% relative to one at the bottom. At the time of the study in 2006, this was equivalent to £21 000.”
A similar picture emerges for Paris, where in 2004, the best schools attracted a premium of up to 17 500 Euros. However, GARETH BAILEY Pam Golding Properties, North Durban area. this is not just a European story: many studies from the United States and elsewhere produce similar results.
For example, in 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported on the correlation between school performance and home values. When the state of Florida rolled out its new school grading system, home values were directly impacted. The values of homes in neighbourhoods with Arated schools increased by as much as $10 000 over similar homes in neighbourhoods with Brated schools. Over a few years, that gap has widened and home values could now vary by anywhere from $50 000 to $300 000 a home, based on the current rating of the school in that neighbourhood.
Since quality educational institutions have a significant impact on the strength of property markets, it is important that the new suburbs along our North Coast incorporate sufficient plans to establish these types of institutions. Despite significant residential growth, no new schools have been established in our greater uMhlanga area in the last 15 years, and our coastline is in desperate need of additional quality school and tertiary education options.
Fortunately, Tongaat Hulett Developments THD is aware of this surging demand and has conducted independent research which has formally identified educational gaps in our area, and has subsequently engaged with educational institution providers on a national basis.
As part of its strategy to provide complete living environments with an inclusive growth focus, THD has identified two short-term opportunity sites which has resulted in the confirmation of two new schools. ADvTECH will be opening a new facility in node 5 of the 1 000ha Sibaya Coastal Precinct, positioned southeast of the M4 and uMdloti Main Road, which will ultimately serve about 10 000 residential units.
According to Sithembiso Mthembu, head of Development Execution for THD, this is just the start: “The number of residential units in Sibaya Coastal Precinct will be growing significantly in the next five to ten years, and so will the opportunities for more educational facilities to meet demand.”
A similar facility operated by the Curro brand will be opening in Cornubia. Both facilities will cater to primary and high school needs totalling 2 000 students each and will be pitched at the middleincome market segment. Sibaya will also provide space for the development of tertiary institutions over the short to medium term. Further afield, THD has prospective educational facilities marked for iZinga, oTongati and Ballito which are all areas that are expanding at a significant rate. Specific opportunities are currently being developed and will soon be used to engage with educational institutions.
According to Xoli Shabalala, executive head Market Solutions at THD, the company is “conducting a regionalwide assessment taking into account existing pipeline residential developments which are likely to trigger even further demand for schools.”
While many may feel that the supply of quality schools and tertiary institutions along our coastline is trailing the rate of residential property development, it is encouraging that there are substantial plans afoot by THD to make land opportunities available to future educational institutions.
I believe that market forces will ultimately capitalise on these opportunities and drive solutions that will both serve the educational needs of our new residents as well as help to underpin demand for these areas and hence the strength of these property markets in the longer term.