House prices in UK national parks are on average £121,383 more expensive than similar properties in surrounding counties, according to new research from Lloyds Bank.
All 12 national parks surveyed have higher house prices than the average for their county. Topping the list is the New Forest, with a premium in excess of £300,000. This is followed by the South Downs – the newest national park – with a premium of more than £200,000.
The average house price in a national park is now £379,437, meaning homebuyers face paying an extra 47% compared to similar properties in surrounding counties. This is also significantly higher than the average England and Wales house price of £286,336.
In the New Forest, the price jumps to £661,957, more than double the county average (an extra 107% or £342,830). At the other end of the scale, homes in Snowdonia cost on average £189,616, or a premium of just 2% (£4,374).
The average cost of a home in a national park is 11.6 times higher than local average gross annual earnings. The comparable ratio for England and Wales as a whole is 7.8 times average earnings.
The New Forest is the least affordable national park, where the average house price is 15.9 times local earnings, while Snowdonia is the most affordable, with the average price 6.7 times local earnings.
Andrew Mason, mortgages director at Lloyds Bank, said: “National parks offer a unique opportunity to live in some of the most desirable parts of the country, and often come with strict rules designed to protect their beauty and heritage for many years to come.
“However, this comes at a cost to home buyers who will need to pay considerably more to put roots down in these locations. With such a significant gap between local earnings and property prices, people who want to live and work locally may face a considerable challenge to buy their own home.”
The average national park house price was up just 1% (£5,545) over the last 12 months. The New Forest is again on top, with prices rising 9% (£55,329) in 2018. However four national parks (Peak District, Dartmoor, North York Moors and Lake District) have seen house prices fall over the same period. The largest fall was in the UK’s most visited national park, the Lake District, with prices down by 7% (-£24,683) year on year.
House prices in national parks across England and Wales increased by £56,063 (17%) over the past 10 years, up from £323,373 in 2008 to £379,437 in 2018 (17%).
The biggest percentage increase has been in the South Downs where prices have risen by 36% (£146,264) over the last decade. In contrast, Exmoor is the only national park where the average price fell over the last 10 years, down 2% (-£6,470) from £337,445 in 2008 to £330,975 in 2018.
However, the £56,063 increase is £12,566 lower than the average house price rise since 2008 across the whole of England and Wales.