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National parks and conservation area planning restrictions causes prices to rise

Planning restrictions in national parks and conservation areas mean that heightened demand is causing prices to rise. If you’re looking to buy a detached property in Sussex, the South Downs is the most expensive National Park in England and Wales. Prices here are almost double the average paid elsewhere, at just over £674,000 compared to the average price of £350,000.

The New Forest, designated National Park in 2005, came in as the second most expensive area. Detached properties here go for an average of £620,000, whilst the average price paid for a detached property in the wider county of Hampshire across the same time frame was just over £444,000. The third was the Peak District at £417,878 compared with an average of £244,222 in Derbyshire. The Lake District, with £416,970, followed this compared to £265,250. Dartmoor was next on the list at £372,980 compared to a Devon average of £326,261.

However, in Wales, prices in National Parks are cheaper. North Wales’ Snowdonia hosted the least expensive detached property prices at £205,124, less than the average in Gwynedd, which is £212,096. The second cheapest was Northumberland at £242,327, some less than the county average of £263,432.

The increasingly restrictive planning regimes surrounding National Parks mean that the supply of new stock can often fall short of demand. This is one major factor underpinning pricing. In addition, higher prices relating to surrounding areas are said to reflect the type of housing stock found within the boundaries of National Parks.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty were also analysed. These areas have been designated for conservation due to their overwhelming natural beauty. It was found that the most expensive place for a detached property in such an area is in the Surrey Hills at £904,462 compared with £731,964 for Surrey in general. Also affecting property prices in that particular area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is the commutable distance to London and close to major towns such as Epsom and Guildford.

The capital’s ripple effect on pricing is also evident in several other areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Chilterns. Here came in at the third most expensive area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with an average house price of £757,343, considerably higher than the £543,286 average for a detached property across Buckinghamshire

Connected to living in some of the most distinctive landscapes in England and Wales is a higher quality of life, so it is an obvious destination for many home buyers. However, this comes at a premium. More restrictive planning regimes that are in place within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty often mean that supply can fall short of demand. Therefore, prices increase.

Also evident are the wider trends the market is experiencing, not least the north-south divide in pricing, so it is little surprise that the South Downs and New Forest are topping the pricing charts. The London effect is evident in popular commuter locations such as the Surrey Hills and the Chilterns.

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