Should you pay the premium to live in a top Edinburgh catchment area?

One Edinburgh catchment area pulls in a 50% premium over the surrounding areas.

30 Jun 2018

As a parent, Edinburgh school catchment areas are probably high on your list of priorities when it comes to buying a house for your family. It is no secret that the battle for secondary schools takes place in the housing market.

Where are Edinburgh’s catchment areas?
Every household in Edinburgh has a catchment area which determines at which school your little ones will have a priority place. The nearest school to your house may not actually be in the catchment area, so it is important to have a good understanding of the system before you begin your search.

The council provide a searchable map so that you can view the Edinburgh catchment areas.

The effect catchments have on Edinburgh’s house prices
According to a recent Bank of Scotland report examining house prices near Scotland’s top 20 performing state secondary schools, parents are paying an average premium of around £41,000 more to live in the “right” area compared to surrounding areas.

Parents interested in sending their children to Boroughmuir High School will be forced to pay around 50% more for a house within the Boroughmuir catchment area compared to the surrounding areas.

Is this a bad thing for buyers?
Despite the fact that to purchase a home for your family within the catchment of Boroughmuir High School you might be paying as much as 50% more than the surrounding areas, this is almost certainly a sound investment based on house price performance.

House prices in the areas around the 20 top performing secondary schools in Scotland have risen by 22% over the last five years and look set to continue!

Why it makes sense to invest
It may seem hard to justify to yourself the additional cost of homes in these areas. Even though you want the best education standards possible, a 50% premium will seem daunting.

You might consider living out with these areas and look instead at fee-paying schools. Some critics of the current state of the market have pointed out that the premiums families pay to live in some catchment areas amount to more than they would pay on school fees. That assessment, however, does not take into account the investment being made by purchasing property in areas where prices are rising so substantially.


If you are unsure about Edinburgh’s areas, contact one of our local experts who would be happy to advise on the best options.


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