Building inspector, Brisbane property market 2018
Purchasing a House

The Building Inspector’s Guide – Worst House In The Best Catchment

Buying In A Catchment? – The Building Inspector Is Here To Help

When looking for the best advice on buying a house within the best state school catchments in Brisbane, look no further than your knowledgeable building inspector at Action Property Inspections!

They say that deciding on which school to send your children to is one of the hardest decisions to make as a parent, and that deciding on which home to buy is one of the hardest decisions to make as an adult. If you’re a parent looking to buy a house close to one of the best state schools in Brisbane, you’ve got quite a big decision on your hands!

It’s common knowledge in the real estate industry that properties close to high preforming schools are regularly asking top dollar compared to similarly sized properties in neighbouring areas. Weekly rents are higher, too. You could be looking at a significantly smaller house to the one you’re currently living in for a much higher price, or a fixer-upper that needs a tonne of work. If you do your homework, you should be able to avoid the major pitfalls of buying in a great school catchment area and still make a good investment for your family’s future. Read on to find out more!

Where are the best state school catchments in Brisbane? Why should you live there?

According to the 2017 NAPLAN test results, the following are the best performing state schools in Brisbane:

Best public primary schools in Brisbane:

  • Kelvin Grove State School
  • Eagle Junction State School
  • Newmarket State School
  • McDowell State School
  • Oakleigh State School
  • Ascot State School
  • Windsor State School
  • Kedron State School

Best public high schools in Brisbane

  • Brisbane State High School
  • Mansfield State High School
  • Kelvin Grove State High School
  • Indooroopilly State High School
  • The Gap State High School
  • Mt Gravatt State High School
  • Craigslea State High School
  • Kedron State High School

Here are a few of the Brisbane suburbs that you should be looking at when wanting to buy in a popular school catchment.

Kelvin Grove

Home to one of QUT’s campuses, Kelvin Grove has one of the best state primary schools in the city, and one of the best high schools. With a thriving urban village, great Saturday morning markets and several fantastic cafes and restaurants, Kelvin Grove is a great place for families. The median housing price here in 2017 was $801, 500.


Indooroopilly is well known in Brisbane for having the largest shopping centre in the western suburbs. Only 7 kilometres from the city’s centre, Indooroopilly is leafy and quiet, giving you the best of both worlds. Indooroopilly State High School is one of the best public high schools in Brisbane, so if you have teenagers, it’s definitely a suburb to consider. The median housing price here in 2017 was $862, 500.

South Brisbane

Located on the southern bank of the Brisbane river and within walking distance to Brisbane’s cultural centre, South Brisbane is a wonderful place for enriching growing minds. As one of Brisbane’s oldest areas, there are a number of beautiful heritage listed properties and buildings of cultural significance. Public transport is fantastic, and the suburb is within easy travelling distance to some of Brisbane’s best state primary and high schools. What’s more, the close proximity to the city makes it a desirable location for parents who work there. The median housing price here in 2017 was $775, 000.

What are the downsides of buying in a popular school catchment area? What should you be looking out for?

Buying a home in a school catchment area in Brisbane has lots of advantages, but also some downsides. As already mentioned, property prices in these areas are always higher. You’re likely to pay thousands more for a 2 bedroom property in suburbs like Indooroopilly or the Gap than you would in a suburb where the school isn’t so much in demand. You could be sacrificing space, comfort, and lifestyle. While your child’s education is incredibly important, so is the financial security of your family. You can still find you and your family a property in a popular school catchment area – you just need to be smart about it.

What should you sacrifice? What shouldn’t you?

Buying a property is always a tough decision, but buying a property when you have a specific goal in mind – that is, to move closer to a school that will provide your child with a better education – can be even tougher. You’ll need to sacrifice something for your child’s future. Typically, space is the number one thing people sacrifice. If you have multiple children, they may have to share a bedroom. You might not have that study you had in your previous home. The houses you can afford might be older or needing significant repair. What you definitely shouldn’t sacrifice is your family’s safety and financial security. You don’t need to buy a house with major structural issues just to be closer to a particular school. Check out Action Property Inspections checklist for what to look out for when looking for a home. If in doubt, always request a thorough inspection by an expert property inspector!

Look for fixer-uppers

If you do your research, finding a property that needs a bit of work is a great way to get your family in the area you need to be in for a better price. If you temporarily lower your expectations, you can eventually find yourself in your dream home. In 2017, Brisbane suburbs like Kedron often had fixer-upper properties for sale. Here at Action Property Inspections, our building inspectors have compiled a handy list of rules for you to abide by to make sure you’re not stuck with a property that’s more work than it’s worth.

  • You’ll definitely need to spend big on kitchen and bathroom renovations, as most older homes will need them. They’re also the most expensive.
  • Make sure you get the property you’re interested in thoroughly inspected for asbestos and termites. No matter how much you want the house or how well it otherwise suits your needs, the associated costs with such properties make it so much more of a headache than it’s worth.
  • Look for fixer-uppers that are open for big improvements for minimal outlay. Properties that only need a coat of paint, a quick update on the flooring, or some landscaping can give you a dramatic makeover for small change.
  • Ensure the property you’re after is family friendly. It’s surprising how many families fall into the trap of buying flats or units instead of a house with room for their growing family. Look for houses with yards, and enough bedrooms to be comfortable.

Once you’ve found a home that seems right for you, in the right area, contact Action Property Inspections and talk to a building inspector. Don’t take a risk on your family’s future by investing in a lemon!

For more information on property purchases and pre-purchase inspections, visit us at Action Property Inspections online today or call us on 07 3201 2666!


About Andrew Mackintosh

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.