Whether you’re a property buyer or investor, when you’re looking to buy a new property there are so many things to consider.

Sure, the location, proximity to amenities, and transport links are important factors that affect a property’s value.

But, did you know that state school zones can also have a huge impact on local property prices?


That’s because some people are willing to pay a significant premium to be located within some primary and secondary school zones.

As a result, in Melbourne, competition for places in preferred school zones has seen property prices rise out of kilter with the rest of the city.

And with elite private schools around the country costing parents up to (or in excess of) $30,000 per year, per child, it’s understandable that top-performing public schools are in high demand.

According to Domain Group’s latest 2023 School Zones Report, annual house price growth in 50% of primary and 47% of secondary school zones have surpassed their respective suburbs, with most seeing up to 10% more growth.

And house prices rose across three-fifths of school zones annually.

While the top school zones are spread across inner, middle, and outer suburbs and across a variety of different price points, a number that topped the list are in suburbs further away from the city centre, emphasising lifestyle preferences, affordability, and the changing demand for properties since the beginning of the pandemic, Domain said.

Interestingly, house price growth varied between neighbouring school zones.

For example, the Alphington Primary School zone jumped 28% annually while Fairfield Primary School increased a fraction of this, at 5%.

Here are the high school and primary school catchment areas which have come out on top for Melbourne.

Melbourne House

Best suburbs in Melbourne for high schools

Suburb School Name Median Property Price YoY
1 Drouin Drouin Secondary College $855k 22.10% ↑
2 Broadford Broadford Secondary College $600k 15.90% ↑
3 Williamstown Williamstown High School 2.01M 13.40% ↑
4 Berwick Kambrya College $825k 12.50% ↑
5 Melton South Staughton College $590k 12.40% ↑
6 Wonthaggi Wonthaggi Secondary College $640k 12.30% ↑
7 Hastings Western Port Secondary College $830k 12.00% ↑
8 Wallan Wallan Secondary College $677k 11.90% ↑
9 Kurunjang Kurunjang Secondary College $531k 11.80% ↑
10 Bacchus Marsh Bacchus Marsh College $670k 11.70% ↑

The most significant hike in house prices was in the Drouin Secondary College school zone located to the west of Melbourne in the West Gippsland area.

Median property prices in the catchment area have jumped 22.1% year-on-year to a new median of $855,000.

In second place is Broadford Secondary College which saw property prices rise 15.9% to a still-affordable $600,000 median over the past 12 months.

The affluent Williamstown High School catchment area came in third place with a 13.4% increase in the median property price for the area – which now sits at $2.012 million.

Best suburbs in Melbourne for primary schools

Suburb School Name Median Property Price YoY
1 Alphington Alphington Primary School $2.26M 27.90% ↑
2 Balnarring Balnarring Primary School $1.84M 24.50% ↑
3 Mount Dandenong Mount Dandenong Primary School $1.09M 23.80% ↑
4 Bunyip Bunyip Primary School $840k 22.60% ↑
5 Patterson Lakes Patterson Lakes Primary School $1.26M 20.00% ↑
6 South Morang Morang South Primary School $757.5k 18.40% ↑
7 Rockbank Rockbank Primary School $615k 18.30% ↑
8 Broadford Broadford Primary School $600k 17.60% ↑
9 Garfield Garfield Primary School $845k 17.40% ↑
10 Ringwood Ringwood Heights Primary School $1.19M 15.00% ↑

For Melbourne’s primary schools, the data reveals that houses located in the catchment area for Alphington Primary School saw the biggest price jump, of a huge 27.9% over the 12 months to July 2022.

The new median price for the suburb is $2.26 million.

In second place, with a lower median house price of $1.84 million, is the catchment area surrounding Balnarring Primary School.

The school zone saw house prices jump 24.5% over the period.

With a house price hike of 23.8% to $1.09 million, the catchment area for Mount Dandenong Primary School came a very close third in this year’s top 10 list.


A key takeaway

It’s important to remember that when it comes to property investment, it’s most important to look for an investment-grade property in the ‘right area’ rather than chasing a ‘hotspot’.

Areas of price growth might seem like a tempting investment, but ask yourself, is that long-term or short-term growth?

But even before looking for the right location, make sure you have a Strategic Property Plan to steer you through the upcoming challenging times our property markets will encounter.

You see…property investing is a process, not an event.

Things have to be done in the right order – and selecting the location and the right property in that location comes right at the end of the process.

The fact is, the property you will eventually buy will be the result of a sequence of questions you will need to ask and answer and a series of decisions you’ll need to make before you even start looking at locations.

Long before we talk about a property or the right location with our clients at Metropole, we look at factors including their age, their timeframes, and the desired end results in other words, what do they really want the properties to do – are they looking for cash flow, capital growth, or a combination of both.

About Bryce Yardney
Bryce is a property development specialist, having successfully completed many development projects for Metropole's clients. Initially working as a Project Manager at Metropole since completing his Bachelor of Project Management in 2011, Bryce now acts as a buyers agent for clients, sourcing and evaluating properties with development potential.Visit Metropole.com.au