UK buyers ‘pay 22% premium’ to live in national park | Money

Living in one of the UK’s national parks doesn’t just mean easy access to beautiful countryside and breathtaking views – it also typically boosts the price of a property by 22%, research has revealed.

A home located in a national park typically attracts a “price premium” of about £46,000 in cash terms over an otherwise identical property, said Nationwide building society.

While that might be welcomed by the 450,000 people who live in one of the 15 national parks spread across England, Scotland and Wales, it is bad news for would-be homebuyers – in particular, those living and working in the area who dream of owning their own home but may feel they have been priced out of their community.

In the New Forest in Hampshire, the most expensive national park in which to buy a home, with an average house price of £525,000, the price premium is estimated at £115,000. Towns and villages within the park include Ashurst, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst.

Andrew Harvey, senior economic analyst at Nationwide, said one of the reasons why prices tended to be relatively high was that there were often strict controls on development in national parks, with limited new housing construction. He added that these were “highly desirable” areas in which to live, and often had easy access to major employment centres.

Nationwide found that the premium was not limited entirely to homes located within the boundaries of a national park. There was also evidence of a “fringe benefit” for properties located close by. Homes within 5km of a park typically commanded a 5% premium compared with those outside of this range.

In August 2016, about 4,000 people living in Cumbria and a corner of Lancashire were officially absorbed into the Yorkshire Dales national park after it was extended in size by nearly a quarter. About 12% of the national park was already in Cumbria, and that now stands at 27%, while for the first time 1% of it is in Lancashire, too. The park now includes Leck Fell, near Kirkby Lonsdale, which – as the Guardian reported last year – “hitherto stood proudly as Lancashire’s highest point”. As a result of the change, the population of the Yorkshire Dales national park is now estimated at 23,600, up from 19,600 previously.

The South Downs, which takes in parts of Hampshire and Sussex, is England’s newest national park and has the highest resident population at about 120,000. The park includes a number of towns situated in the western Weald, including Petersfield, Liss, Midhurst and Petworth.

Nationwide said that of the main national parks, Snowdonia had the lowest estimated property price premium: £34,500. The society said the average house price there was £157,000.

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