Brisbane School Catchment Investment is a Thing (Here’s How to do it Smarter)

School Catchement Investment

By Andrew Mackintosh

So you want a place in one of Brisbane’s high performance state schools?  Or, you want to buy an investment property in the right catchment zone?  Brisbane’s state school catchments are hot locations and whether its for your child, or your prospective tenant’s child, there’s a few things to look out for before you plonk down the deposit.

Landlords, know the school catchment rules

Check the catchment area carefully, sometimes a catchment isn’t where you’d expect it to be.  To get a catchment place in a state school, your tenant only needs to have a lease upon enrollment.  Once they’re in, they’re in.  So, the riskiest part of school catchment investment properties is that you’ll get tenants who only want a short lease, the shorter the better. If they’re not planning to move into the property, you may find your property up for offer on AirBnB.  Remember too, that the family may plan to move into the catchment area, so a bigger space, suitable for a family with school-aged kids, will likely get you better quality tenants.

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

According to the Brisbane Families Magazine, 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

So, where are the catchment hot spots?

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. Kelvin Grove also has the benefit of plenty of apartments for purchase. It’s not a cheap suburb to invest in, just for the address.


Indooroopilly, once a top choice for cheap and cheerful student housing, is now home to some of Brisbane’s wealthiest residents, madly renovating character properties for extra large purchase prices. (Learn more about the risks involved in that). Indooroopilly State High School is one of the best public high schools in Brisbane.  Demand is high, but so is the price tag. Indooroopilly has its fair share of units but it’s best known for it’s beautiful colonial houses – so, if you’re buying in catchment on a budget, you’re in for a rude shock!

South Brisbane

Packed with potential rental properties and small investment apartments, South Brisbane is a Catchment Buyer’s dream. It’s the go-to location for international students too, so there’s never a shortage of potential tenants.  South Brisbane’s catchment areas need to be checked pretty carefully!  Learn more about buying in Brisbane’s south.

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.

Not big on apartment investment? 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. The older suburbs have a better shot at finding a fixer-upper.  Kedron, Wooloowin, Chermisde West (where Craigslea is located) will all have modest-sized ‘fixer-upper” homes – but expect some competition.

  • 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.

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!


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