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April 19, 2023

How School Catchment Zones Impact Property And Rental Prices

Which school their children will attend is a major factor for many buyers and renters when deciding on their next home.

We take a look at how school catchment zones influence property prices and the rental market.

School catchment zones are make or break for many buyers

Every house hunter has a wish list of features they’d like in their new home, and for many buyers, an address in a sought-after school catchment zone tops the list. School catchment areas are so critical they’re considered a paramount factor for buyers. As Domain’s chief of research and economics, Dr Nicola Powell, says, ‘those school catchment zones are really important for families when they’re making their decisions on where to live.’ That’s why, just like other desirable property features, school zones can influence house and unit prices.

School catchment areas boosting property prices

Houses and units within catchment areas for in-demand public schools often attract greater buyer interest, which inevitably drives up sales prices. We saw this happen here in Toowoomba back in 2021 when unit prices in East Toowoomba spiked by 79.1% off the back of parents rushing to enrol their children in the highly regarded local primary school.

New figures from Domain reveal that homes in sought-after school catchments sell for up to 10% more than the median of the suburb they are in. Interestingly, this phenomenon is stronger in regional areas than in the capital cities. Domain’s School Zones Report 2023 shows that house prices in 97% of secondary school zones and 94% of primary school areas in regional areas rose over the last year, compared to 77% of school zones in the capital cities. And our state is leading the country when it comes to school catchment zone property price increases. Family migration to Queensland, and regional areas in general, is behind these results.

Does location matter for private schools?

While private schools don’t use a catchment system, location is still a decisive factor for families enrolling their children in the private system. Living close to school means living close to extracurricular activities and peers, supporting children’s social and emotional wellbeing and making it easier for them to participate in their community. Just like public school catchment zones, proximity to private schools can drive up property prices.

Renting and school catchment zones

While buying a home in your preferred school catchment area is a sure way to secure your child’s enrolment in the school of your choice, it’s not the only way. Renting in a catchment area will also allow your child to attend that school. Given that the catchment areas for many top schools come with higher median house prices, renting is a viable alternative for many families. But just as sale prices for properties in sought-after school zones are often higher than the median, so too are rental prices.’s director of economic research, Cameron Kusher, says that rental properties in the popular catchment areas tend to be more expensive because they are in demand.

What buyers, sellers and tenants need to know about school catchment zones

School catchment zones, while sometimes aligned along suburb boundaries, often cross neighbourhoods and cut through suburbs. This can result in significant house price differences from one street to the next and explains why house prices in some school zones outperform those of the suburb in which they sit. Domain has a handy search tool that allows you to hunt for homes to buy or rent by school catchment area.

You can look up Toowoomba’s primary and secondary school catchment zones at the Queensland Government website EdMap. It’s worth noting that school zones do occasionally change. Signs catchment areas are about to be redistributed include new schools being built nearby or population growth.

A home within walking distance of school is particularly desirable. A safe walk that doesn’t include main road crossings is the ultimate.

High-achieving Toowoomba schools

With more than 60 public and private primary and secondary schools, Toowoomba is the education hub for the Darling Downs and beyond.

According to Better Education, these Toowoomba primary schools ranked highly in 2022:

  • Toowoomba Anglican School, East Toowoomba (99)
  • Fairholme College, Toowoomba City (97)
  • Mater Dei Primary School, East Toowoomba (97)
  • Toowoomba Grammar School, East Toowoomba (97)
  • Toowoomba East State School, East Toowoomba (97)
  • The Glennie School, Newtown (97)
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Newtown (96)
  • Highlands Christian College, Kearneys Spring (96)
  • St Saviours Primary School, South Toowoomba (94)
  • Concordia Lutheran College, Harristown (94)
  • Gabbinar State School, Centenary Heights (93)
  • Darling Downs Christian School, Toowoomba City (91)
  • Rangeville State School, Rangeville (90)

Based on 2022 results, these Toowoomba secondary schools are all rated 90 or above by Better Education:

  • Fairholme College, Toowoomba City (98)
  • Toowoomba Anglican School, East Toowoomba (98)
  • The Glennie School, Newtown (95)
  • Concordia Lutheran College, Harristown (94)
  • Toowoomba Grammar School, East Toowoomba (94)
  • St Ursula’s College, Newtown (94)
  • St Joseph’s College, Rangeville (93)
  • Downlands College, Harlaxton (93)
  • Highlands Christian College, Kearneys Spring (90)
  • Centenary Heights State High School, Centenary Heights (90)
  • St Mary’s College, Newtown (90)

Are you looking for a new home in a particular Toowoomba school catchment area? Or perhaps you want to make the most of your home’s school catchment zone when it comes time to sell or rent. Either way, we can help. Get in touch with our expert local team today.

Article by Melita Bell

Melita Bell is a fully licensed real estate agent who has a reputation for delivering exceptional results that consistently exceed her clients’ expectations. Encompassing over ten years of real estate experience, Melita Bell’s background inclu… View profile

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