How Housing Challenges Affect the Quality of Education in Sydney’s More Expensive Suburbs

Housing challenges in Sydney’s more expensive suburbs are creating significant obstacles for local schools. With property prices soaring, a pressing question arises:

Can we attract and retain quality teachers in these areas if they can’t afford to live nearby?

This issue not only affects teachers, but also has far-reaching consequences on the quality of education and overall student outcomes.

This article will explore how housing affordability affects school access and teacher retention, discusses the broader implications for education quality, and considers the potential solutions to these challenges.

Housing Affordability and Access to Good Schools

Housing affordability in Sydney’s more expensive suburbs significantly impacts families seeking quality education for their children. These suburbs often host the city’s highest-scoring public schools, driving up property prices as families compete to live within desirable school catchment areas.

According to the NSW Productivity Commission’s report, families in New South Wales are paying a premium of 2.7-3.35% to live within the catchment zones of high-scoring schools.

Sydney’s high-scoring public schools are predominantly clustered in affluent areas such as Northern Sydney, the Eastern Suburbs, and the Inner West. These areas’ high housing costs mean that only families with substantial financial resources can afford to buy/rent close to these schools.

Impact on Teacher Recruitment and Retention

High housing costs in Sydney’s wealthier suburbs pose a significant challenge for attracting and retaining quality teachers. The inability to afford housing in these areas can deter teachers from accepting positions in schools that need their expertise the most.

Teachers, especially those beginning their careers, often face financial constraints that make it difficult to live in high-cost areas.

The NSW Productivity Commission’s report highlights that many young professionals, including teachers, are increasingly moving to other states or more affordable areas within Sydney to find housing that suits their budgets.

Without sufficient affordable housing options, schools struggle to recruit and retain teachers. They often face challenges in maintaining a consistent teaching quality, as new teachers need time to build rapport with students and consolidate learning.

Consequences for Education Quality

When schools in Sydney’s wealthier suburbs struggle to attract and retain quality teachers, the stability and consistency essential for effective teaching and learning are compromised.

In turn, this negatively impacts student performance and educational outcomes.

One significant consequence of teacher shortages and high turnover rates is the disruption of the learning environment.

Frequent changes in teaching staff can lead to inconsistencies in curriculum delivery, making it challenging for students to maintain academic progress. Teachers need time to understand their students’ learning needs, build trust, and implement effective teaching strategies. High teacher turnover undermines these processes, negatively impacting students’ academic achievements.

Additionally, teacher shortages can result in larger class sizes as schools attempt to manage with fewer staff.

Larger class sizes can dilute each student’s attention, making it harder for teachers to provide individualised support. It is particularly detrimental to students with disabilities or who require additional help.

Potential Solutions and Recommendations for Teachers

Teachers can consider the following strategies and resources to assist them in affording housing in Sydney’s more expensive suburbs:

  1.  Dedicated Housing Programs: Teachers can benefit from dedicated housing programs that offer rental assistance, down payment grants, or low-interest mortgages. Investigating programs specifically designed for educators can provide targeted financial support.

  2. Shared Equity Schemes: Shared equity schemes allow buyers to purchase a portion of a property while an equity partner (such as the government or a non-profit organisation) owns the remaining share. It reduces the upfront cost of homeownership and makes it more affordable.

  3. Salary Packaging and Benefits: Teachers should inquire about salary packaging options available through their employers. Salary packaging can help maximise disposable income by allowing teachers to use pre-tax dollars for housing-related expenses.

  4. Living Further Afield: A viable option is to consider more affordable suburbs with good transport links to wealthier areas. Teachers can save on housing costs while still having relatively easy access to schools in affluent suburbs.

  5. Financial Planning and Budgeting: Teachers can benefit from financial planning and budgeting services to manage their finances more effectively. Professional advice can help them save for a home deposit and plan for long-term financial stability.

  6. Professional Development and Career Advancement: Pursuing advanced qualifications or leadership roles within the education sector can lead to higher salaries, improving the ability to afford housing in more expensive areas.

  7. Community and Co-Living Options: Exploring co-living arrangements or community housing projects can provide more affordable living options. These arrangements can reduce living expenses by sharing costs with other residents.


Addressing the housing challenges in Sydney’s more expensive suburbs is critical to ensuring that schools can attract and retain quality teachers, which is essential for maintaining high educational standards.

The high cost of housing in these areas not only limits teachers’ ability to live near their workplaces but also impacts the overall quality of education by contributing to teacher shortages and high turnover rates.

We can alleviate these challenges by increasing the supply of affordable housing and implementing targeted policies and programs.

Building more affordable homes, offering incentives to developers, creating dedicated housing programs for teachers, and revising zoning laws to allow for higher-density developments are all viable solutions.

These measures can help make living in wealthier areas more accessible for teachers and other essential workers, fostering more stable and effective educational environments.

As a buyers agent, I can help you get your bearings in Sydney’s real estate market. I can provide expert advice and support on finding a home in a top school catchment area.

Contact me today to explore how we can find the perfect property that meets your needs and ensures access to quality education for your children.

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Connie Mastroianni is a licensed Buyer’s Agent and Vendor’s Advocate with a background in Colour and Design. With two decades of collaboration with Sydney’s top architects, builders, and developers, she offers unparalleled insights. Connie’s assertive negotiation style and vast experience make her an invaluable asset for buyers and sellers alike. Her empathetic approach, coupled with professional advice, ensures clients’ emotional and financial needs are met.

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