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Planning restrictions in national parks and conservation areas means demand pushes up prices

he South Downs in Sussex is the most expensive National Park in England and Wales in which to buy a detached property with prices almost double the average paid elsewhere, research shows.

The analysis from real estate firm looked at the average sold price for detached homes within the boundaries of National Parks in England and Wales in the 12 months to January 2017 and found that in the South Downs was just over £674,000, nearly double the £350,000 average price.

The New Forest, which was only designated as a National Park in 2005, was the second most expensive area, with detached properties selling on average for £620,000. In comparison, the average price paid for a detached property in the wider county of Hampshire over the same time was just over £444,000.

The next most expensive was the peak District at £417,878 compared with an average of £244,222 in Derbyshire as a whole, followed by the Lake District as £416,970 compared to £265,250 in Cumbria and Dartmoor at £372,980 compared to a Devon average of £326,261.

Prices are cheaper in National Parks in Wales with Snowdonia in North Wales the least expensive detached property prices at £205,124, less than the Gwynedd average of £212,096 while in the second cheapest was Northumberland at £242,327, less than the county average of £263,432.

More restrictive planning regimes within National Parks means that supply of new stock can often fall short of demand, and this is one factor underpinning pricing, the analysis report points out.

Additionally, higher prices relative to the surrounding areas is likely to be reflective of the type of housing stock found within the boundaries of National Parks.

The report also looked at prices in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which have been designated for conservation due to their significant natural beauty and found that the most expensive place for a detached house is in the Surrey Hills at £904,462 compared with £731,964 for Surrey as a whole.

The report points out that as the AONB is within easy reach of London and in close proximity to major towns such as Guildford and Epsom, it is a popular commuter location and strong demand on the back of this has underpinned house prices.

The London ripple effect on pricing is evident in other AONBs including the Chilterns which was the third most expensive AONB with an average house price of £757,343, notably higher than the £543,286 average for a detached property across the whole of Buckinghamshire.

‘The high quality of life connected with living in some of the most distinctive landscapes in England and Wales is an obvious attraction for many home buyers, but this often comes with a premium,’ said Oliver Knight, an associate in Knight Frank’s residential research team.

More restrictive planning regimes in place within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty means supply can often fall short of demand and this, along with the nature of existing stock, which tend towards older, larger homes with land, has underpinned pricing,’ he explained.

‘Wider trends we’re experiencing in the housing market are also evident, not least the north-south divide in terms of pricing, with the South Downs and the New Forest topping the pricing charts. The London ripple effect is also evident within popular commuter location such as the Surrey Hills and the Chilterns,’ he added.