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Picturesque living comes at an increasing cost

Kit Klarenberg
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Kit Klarenberg

Homebuyers must pay over £100,000 extra to live in some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes, according to Lloyds Bank research.

House prices in areas near the National Parks of England and Wales in 2015 are, on average, £101,880 higher than their county average. In percentage terms, this represents a premium of 44 per cent.

Properties in the New Forest command the largest premium relative to the average for the surrounding area in both monetary (£258,042) and percentage (94 per cent) terms. The Peak District (89 per cent) and the Lake District (72 per cent) have the next highest percentage premiums to the surrounding area. Snowdonia is the only National Park where property prices are actually below the average for the surrounding area (-3 per cent).

Of the 12 National Parks, 11 have higher house prices in their surrounding areas than the average for their county, with four attracting a price premium of more than £100,000. Seven of the 12 National Parks surveyed have an average house price exceeding £250,000.

The average house price in a National Park area of £332,755 in 2015 is, on average, 10.9 times higher than local average gross annual earnings.

The New Forest is both the most expensive and the least affordable National Park with an average house price (£531,162), 14.2 times local gross average annual earnings. The South Downs, at 12.5 times average earnings, is the second least affordable National Park, followed by the Peak District (10.3).

Snowdonia is both the least expensive and the most affordable National Park with an average house price of £165,840, which is 6.2 times local average annual earnings. Snowdonia is the only National Park with an average price below £200,000.

The average house price in areas near National Parks across England and Wales has increased by £57,718 (21 per cent) over the past 10 years, from £275,037 in 2005 to £332,755 in 2015. The biggest percentage increases were in the South Downs (44 per cent) and the Pembrokeshire Coast (29 per cent).

At the other end of the spectrum, the Broads Authority is the only National Park area to record a fall in house prices over the past decade (-11 per cent). The North York Moors was the next weakest performer with a 3 per cent increase.

Andrew Mason, mortgages director, Lloyds Bank said: “Many homebuyers are prepared to dig that bit deeper to benefit from the lifestyle associated with living in National Parks. As areas of outstanding natural beauty, they are also prime locations for those seeking second properties. The combined impact of these factors is house prices are typically much higher than those in surrounding areas.

“When we take average local earnings into account, this situation can make it really tough for many of those living and working in National Parks to afford to buy their own home.”