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Changes made to Brisbane State High School’s catchment zone are already affecting properties for sale in the area, according to local real estate agents.
The state government released new catchment maps last week which revealed Brisbane State High School’s catchment zone could be cut by 25 per cent to manage pressure on its rising enrolments.
The school’s current catchment stretches through West End and out to Dutton Park but, under the new draft catchment, students from more than 500 households in Dutton Park, Woolloongabba and Highgate Hill would no longer be eligible for direct entry to State High once the neighbouring high-rise school in Dutton Park opens in 2021.
It’s been a devastating revelation for homeowners who bought in the area specifically to be in the catchment of Queensland’s top performing state high school, said Sam Peterffy, of Harcourts Homeside.
Not only are they upset at being kicked out of the catchment, they’re worried the value of their property will fall because if it, she said.
“Of course the people who are already living here are worried — many of them bought here for the school,” she said.
“I feel sorry for these people. They might have young children, aged five and under, and bought here planning for their children’s future. Now that’s up in the air. It’s not a great situation for them.”
Ms Peterffy said the local property market had already been affected.
“From a buyer perspective, I have people who were looking in these areas and have straight up said they’re no longer looking at Dutton Park or anywhere that’s out of the catchment,” she said.
Brisbane State High School is a 3200-student strong, selective GPS school, sought-after for its top academic results and extensive extra curricular program.
Demand for places is so high, the school employed an investigator this year to uncover families rorting the catchment system.
Ben Salm of Place Estate Agents is selling a beautiful six-bedroom family home at Grantham Street, Dutton Park, that is currently in the State High catchment, but would be bumped out under the new plan.
He said it had already affected the property’s desirability for some buyers.
“It’s something we’ve seen a fair bit of with feedback from the buyers coming through,” he said.
“They’re unsure about the new school because it’s all so unknown at this stage; that creates a hesitancy and then you get less competition, which potentially means lower prices.
“Because this house is now looking like it’ll be out of the State High catchment, the feedback we’re getting suggests the price could be $50,000 less than what it might have been worth three to six months ago.
“There is a grace period though, so you never know what will happen.”
It’s important to note the effect on current and future families will not be immediate. Brisbane State High School students living in the proposed catchment zone for the new school will be allowed to remain enrolled at State High for the duration of their studies, while their siblings will still be able to enrol under transitional arrangements.
The government also said that families with primary school children living in a street which appears on both catchment maps can choose to enrol their child at either school.
But the changes are causing a lot of uncertainty. Ms Peterffy recently sold a house at Gloucester Street, Highgate Hill, a street where some houses will still fall in the catchment and others won’t.
This particular house will still be in the catchment, so the competition to secure it was strong, with four offers in one weekend, Ms Peterffy said.
“I had a couple who argued about it. The husband was saying that the new school was likely to be great but the wife was really worried about it,” she said.
“She just kept saying, ‘But it’s not going to be Brisbane State High, it won’t be the same’. So for them, the fact this house would still be in the catchment in a few years’ time was very important to them.
“That said, there will always be people who will want to buy in Dutton Park anyway. It’s the best suburb in Brisbane in my view.”
And Ms Peterffy said the silver lining would be in the new school, Inner City South State Secondary College, which had the potential to bring new buyers to the area long term.
“Some buyers who may not previously had Dutton Park and surrounding areas on their radar may come here because there is going to be a shiny new school with the best of everything and a connection to the University of Queensland,” she said.
“I know everyone wants to be in the State High catchment right now but my prediction is this new school will be in the top 10 state high schools in Queensland very quickly.”
Mr Salm said the property market could pick up again in these areas once the plans for the school are finalised and released to the public.
“It could actually create quite a bit of excitment in the area once there’s a lot more detail released and prices could go up again,” he said.
“I think in the long term this school will be competition for State High but at the moment it’s making buyers unsure about being in the area, and will only make competition for property staying in the State High catchment even tougher.”
The maps and the enrolment management plan are out for public consultation until September 30.