School zones have long been acknowledged as a driver of property values in New Zealand, with parents willing to pay extra to get their children into schools that are perceived to be 'better'. 

This is sometimes driven by a simplistic interpretation of the decile rating system – which measures the proportion of children in the school who are drawn from the poorest neighbourhoods – but is often taken as a proxy rating for school quality.

Zoned secondary schools tend to be in the high decile bracket, with 63% having a decile rating of seven or greater (one being lowest and 10 the highest).

New data released to BusinessDesk by shows just how much more it costs to buy into a zoned secondary school area. 

And, perhaps more worryingly, reveals that during the surge in property price inflation in the past year, increases within these zones have generally been above average.

Property values in the average secondary school zone in NZ increased by 35% in the past 12 months, compared to about 30% for the average suburb (a figure which also includes the gains within zones).

All up median values in 80 of the 105 secondary school zones increased by more than the increase in the median value for the town or city the school is situated in.

In Auckland, 31 of 48 (65%) school zones increased in value at a greater rate than city-wide values.

Outside Auckland, school zone increases were almost entirely above average compared to the rest of the city – Hastings, Havelock North and Paraparaumu being the exceptions.

In Wellington, where property price inflation has been amongst the highest in the country – up 43% annually according to estimates – some school zones touched a 50% annual increase in the median value.

The median value for the Tawa College zone, in Wellington city's northern suburbs, is up 49% in the past 12 months to $1.09 million.

Prices within these school zones are of course higher than other areas, on average, to begin with.

The most expensive school zone according to is Epsom Girls' Grammar in Auckland, with a median value of $2.58m. Not far behind is nearby Glendowie College at $2.34m.

The values are not entirely down to the zones of course. More affluent areas already have higher property values and tend to naturally encompass fewer socio-economically disadvantaged students, leading to higher decile schools.

Epsom Girls' zone stretches east from Epsom to encompass inner-city suburbs such as Remuera, Parnell and Newmarket. Glendowie encompasses the suburb of the same name and St Helier's in East Auckland as well as a separate small area in St John's Park near Remuera. 

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