Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Attract Premium Prices

13th June 2012

Property prices on the Northumberland coast have seen the second highest increase in a study of the country’s beauty spots. Nationally over the past decade, the average house price in seaside towns rose by 97 per cent, slightly ahead of the 95 per cent increase in the whole of England and Wales.

A recent study by Lloyds TSB analysed house prices throughout England’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, using Land Registry sales figures for the 12 months to March 2012.

It found that homes in the Northumberland Coast AONB – which stretches from Berwick down to the Coquet estuary and including popular coastal settlements such as Seahouses, Bamburgh, Beadnell, Craster, Embleton, Alnmouth and Warkworth – have increased in price by an average of 124% over the last decade.

The average is now thought to be £185,376 which is £102,557 more than 10 years ago, putting the area second only behind the Solway Coast AONB in Cumbria in terms of price rises. The North Pennines AONB registered sixth, with an increase of 99%.

Seaham, in County Durham, has recorded the biggest coastal price rise over the past decade with the average house price increasing by almost 183 per cent from £38,443 in 2002 to £108,742 in 2012. Wadebridge and Padstow – both in Cornwall – have seen the next largest rises with increases of 173 per cent and 171 per cent respectively. The average price in Wadebridge is now at £348,986, and £382,806 in Padstow.

But the study’s authors have warned that the housing price rises within areas of outstanding natural beauty has led to “significant affordability difficulties for many of those living and working” there.

Despite the house price rise, the Northumberland coast is still in the “Top 10” of the cheapest beauty spots to live in nationally, currently standing in eighth position. All ten least expensive seaside towns are in northern England. The least expensive town in the survey is Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland with an average house price of £75,063.

On average, houses in areas of outstanding natural beauty cost £235,215, with the Surrey Hill the most expensive at £407,568 and the Lincolnshire Wolds the cheapest at £128,608.

The study found that home buyers are willing and will pay a premium of nearly £15,000 to live within an AONB, compared with house prices for the surrounding area. Two thirds of AONBs have a higher average house price than the regions that they are located within, it added.

“Coastal locations and particularly those within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty remain very popular places to own property whether it is your main residence or a holiday home” says Stephen McOwan. “Such properties provide a lifestyle that for many is their preferred option, with that all important coastal view, combined with a generally high quality of life, peaceful surroundings and a healthy environment.

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