SINGAPORE - Sale and rental prices of homes near popular primary schools may rise following changes to the Primary 1 Registration framework to help more children secure a place in a school near their home, say property experts.
OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun told The Straits Times that prices of homes near top schools - already high - are likely to rise even more following the Ministry of Education's (MOE) announcement on Thursday (Sept 9).
If a school has more applications than vacancies in phase 2C of registration, priority will be given to Singaporeans living closer to the school.
Ms Sun said: "So those who can afford to buy homes near popular schools may stand to benefit from these changes, especially in areas where there are no new Build-To-Order flats and buying or renting resale homes is the only option."
She added that more owners are likely to lease or resell their homes to capitalise on the growing demand.
She said: "Rental and sales of properties have already been very 'hot' in these areas in recent years, especially since balloting by distance is getting prevalent in more schools and across more phases."
According to Ms Sun, prices of resale private properties within 1km of St Hilda's Primary School in Tampines, a popular choice, are about 11 per cent to 12 per cent higher than the district average price this year.
Similarly, the cost of resale private properties within 1km of Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) in Barker Road is about 19 per cent higher than the district average price this year.
Under the new changes, MOE will double the number of places in phase 2C, which is reserved for pupils with no prior connection to the school, from 20 to 40.
In addition, it will merge the two phases for children of alumni - phases 2A(1) and 2A(2) - into a single phase, 2A.
With the change, alumni association members will vie with former pupils of the school who are not association members for places.
MOE also adjusted the method used for calculating the boundary line of the school, which will increase the number of homes in the 1km radius of schools by an average of 10 per cent.
The ministry said these changes were made in response to rising competition under Phase 2C, and they are intended to enable continued accessibility to and diversity in primary schools.
However, experts said these changes are likely to collectively result in increasing rental prices in areas near schools.
ERA Realty Network head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said more parents would want to move closer to their desired school since greater weight will be given to living closer.
High demand is likely to drive rental prices up because most people might not be able to afford buying a home near popular schools, he added.
However, property prices might not jump drastically as the revised method of calculating proximity will encompass more homes within 1km and 2km of schools, he said.
Parents who will be participating in next year's Primary 1 Registration welcomed the changes, which they said will be fairer for those who have no prior links to the school or have not joined the alumni association.
Ms Sherlyn Cheng, who is hoping to register her daughter in a girl's school next year and qualifies for Phase 2A, 2B and 2C, said that under the old framework, parents who joined the alumni associations were almost guaranteed a place unless a school was oversubscribed.
The human resource executive in her 30s said: "I felt that this procedure was not fair because some live really far away from school, yet they can go there because of their parents."
She added that while property prices may go up, "only the rich and well to do" may move or consider moving closer as some incomes have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.