Park life: putting down roots in a national park costs an extra £121,000

01 December 2018

  • The New Forest in South England is the most expensive national park
  • Average house price in national parks equivalent to 11.6 times local earnings
  • Slowdown sees average price rise by just 1% over the last year

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 – known for its heathland, forest trails and native ponies – with a premium in excess of £300,000. This is followed by the South Downs – the newest national park and often referred to as the lungs of South East England – 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 leaps 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 – famous for its mountains and rugged landscape – cost on average £189,616, or a premium of just 2% (£4,374).

Are house prices locking out local buyers?

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, 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."

A mixed year for national park house prices

It’s been a tale of mixed fortunes for national park house prices over the last 12 months, with the average price up just 1% (£5,545). 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.

But long-term view shows upward trend

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.