YORKSHIRE’S MOST glorious landscapes may well be considered to be priceless in the eyes of many, but the true extra cost of buying a home in a National Park actually equates to a premium of more than £100,000, according to new figures.
House prices in the National Parks of England and Wales are, on average, £101,880 higher than their county average - a staggering 44 per cent more.
Properties in Hampshire’s New Forest command the largest premium - of 98 per cent or £258,042 - relative to the average for the surrounding area, but only just higher than in The Peak District (89 per cent) and the Lake District (72 per cent).
Average house prices in the Yorkshire Dales are £273,643, some £71,098 higher than the surrounding area’s average prices.
And in the North York Moors the average house price is £226,594, some £1,539 higher than the county’s average.
The average price of a home in the Dales has risen by £17,284 over the last ten years ago, and by £7,640 in the Moors.
Andrew Mason, mortgages director at Lloyds Bank which published the figures, 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 that 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.”
The average cost of a home in the Dales is 8.9 times local average annual salaries before tax, slightly higher than in the Moors where house prices are 7.3 times average earnings.
Dorothy Fairburn, regional director of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said: “These figures reinforce that there is a major housing crisis in the countryside.”
Peter Stockton, head of sustainable development at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “We have restricted ability to influence house prices. All we can do is ensure that new housing that gets built is likely to be of size, type and hopefully price that’s at least accessible to some households that live within the area and economically contribute to the area.”
From April, housing associations will have to cut social housing rents by one per cent each year for the next four years in a move the government says will help reduce the country’s housing benefit bill.
But Mr Stockton warned: “At the moment housing is in chaos across the country. Housing associations are struggling to build and are pulling out of rural areas.”
Chris France, director of planning at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: “We are constantly frustrated by government changes to planning and the effects on the delivery of housing.”
PLANS TO EASE HOUSING CRISIS
Yorkshire’s National Park authorities are working on their Local Plans, documents which set out a local ten-year vision and agreed priorities for sustainable development.
Currently, in both the Dales and the Moors, around 30 new homes are on average built every year, but the new Local Plans that are being drawn up will include far greater targets.
In the Dales, which has a population of around 19,000 people, the park authority intends to see 55 new homes built every year for the next decade. In the Moors, where a community consultation will begin in the new year, the authority expects its annual target to be higher than its neighbour - the population of the Moors is around 10,000 larger.