HOMEBUYERS are paying a premium of almost £50,000 to live in the catchment areas of some of East Renfrewshire’s top performing schools.

According to new research from Bank of Scotland, average house prices around Mearns Castle High and Eastwood High have now reached £311,441, compared to an average of £263,806 in surrounding areas.

This means parents who want their families to be in the catchment areas for these schools are paying a premium of 18 per cent or £48,025, on average, to live there.

Over the last five years, homeowners within the catchment areas of Mearns Castle and Eastwood will have seen the value of their property increase by 30 per cent, or £72,497, on average over that time period.

Back in 2013, the average house price in both areas was £238,944. 

Across Scotland, parents need to pay an average of £72,973 more to live in the catchment area of a top performing state secondary school, according to Bank of Scotland’s figures.

This is a significantly higher premium than last year, when the top 20 Scottish state schools were commanding a much smaller premium of £41,441 on average than other properties within the same council area.

It is thought this difference is due to a change in the mix of schools in the top 20 in the past year.

Graham Blair, mortgages director at Bank of Scotland, told the Barrhead News: “When buying a home, many parents want their children to be close to a top performing school – and school catchment house price premiums generally tend to align to where we already know property is more expensive, for example Edinburgh.

“With the mix of top schools changing so much from last year, there is a risk that parents focused on school catchment areas could spend money on a property, only for the nearby school to drop out of the list in the coming years.

“Therefore, they may benefit more from buying in an area where the schools are consistently in the top 20 but house prices trade at more of a discount.”

People living in the catchment area of Williamwood High School in Clarkston are also paying a three per cent premium of £8,787, with the average house price standing at £272,193.

Within the top 20 schools in Scotland, five catchment areas remain where homes cost less than the average property in the same local authority area. 

The best performing of these in East Renfrewshire are St Ninan’s High in Giffnock and Woodfarm High in Thornliebank, where house prices cost an average of £259,024, two per cent lower than the local authority average.