Considering Catchments

Fortitude Valley High School is the first new Brisbane inner city high school to be built in over 50 years and it opens to students this month! Children commencing grade 7 this year and who live within the local catchment areas, eagerly await the start of their first term… or perhaps it just their parents who are eager!

Either way, the new high school is set to offer much needed relief to Kelvin Grove State College and Brisbane State High School who both have 3,000+ students enrolled every year. The school is the first vertical high school in Brisbane and is just one project that is part of the Queensland government’s $808 million Building Future Schools Fund.

The main areas the Fortitude Valley High School will encompass are Teneriffe, Fortitude Valley, Spring Hill, Bowen Hills, Newstead, New Farm and Brisbane City. But there are also parts north of the inner ring included in the catchment that we should be keeping an eye on, like… Albion, Windsor and Hamilton, who all partially fall within the schools’ zone.

Catchments aren’t a quick cash cow but based on historical growth patterns they can perform well as long term investments, think 10-15 years. As we discussed in our last blog, Brisbane has a strong immigration influx every year and a high percentage of these people will seek the convenience of inner city living.

You do need to be aware that catchment zones can and do change though, especially at the fringes. Which of course Albion, Windsor and Hamilton are… and you should also take into account when purchasing that not everyone is going to care about residing within the catchment zone! So don’t let it be your only consideration.

Think about what would happen to your investment if the reputation of the school declined, would you still be able to reel in renters from other demographics? If not, you may not be investing wisely. Even a change in the school’s principal can be enough to have every helicopter parent frantically scanning elsewhere for their child’s educational requirements. So make sure your property can appeal to more than just one demographic, such as young professionals or students as well as the families.

Because we’re looking at Fortitude Valley High School opening up brand-new catchment areas you won’t have to necessarily be wary of the properties on the market having capped yet and therefore the purchase price outweighing the potential for investment gains. However, it is something to be conscious about when buying into an already established school zone, take for instance Holland Park which is under the Cavendish Road High School catchment where the current median house price has risen over $100k in the past ten years to $647k. In this instance the market value looks to have already peaked, so the price outweighs the potential investment gains.

As you can see, making a smart investment within a catchment area isn’t straight forward, or easier than any other investment. But I think that now would be a great time to start considering the option and casting your eye towards these areas with a little more forethought for what the future of the area’s market may look like.