A recent report from Halifax suggests that prices for homes in Britain's National Parks are generally much higher than those in neighbouring areas.
Their figures are extrapolated from the property transfer deeds which Conveyancing Solicitors must submit to the land registry after sales have been completed.
One such area is the South Downs, the newest of the country's National Parks, covering an area of over 1, 600 square kilometres between Winchester to Eastbourne. Although these towns, together with those along the coast such as Brighton and Worthing, are just outside the boundaries, Lewes, Petersfield and Midhurst are all included with the South Downs, as are numerous smaller towns and villages.
According to these latest figures, properties within the park boundaries sell at a premium of around 170% above similar homes in neighbouring counties, and recorded a 30% rise in house prices since 2006.
Tighter planning control restricts further development
One of the attractions for many people looking to buy a home in one of these areas is perhaps the fact that there should not be any new development springing up on their doorstep.
The consequence is, as Conveyancing Solicitors will point out, that homes are subject to tighter planning controls. Although this does not necessarily prevent further extensions or refurbishment of older properties, the planning process will be more restrictive than is usually the case.
The South Downs National Park Authority is the statutory planning authority for the whole of its region. It has agreed and implemented partnerships with the 15 local authorities, who remain responsible for the day-to-day processing and determination of the great majority of all planning applications in their respective districts.
Apart from any planning considerations, there are no additional matters that your Conveyancing Solicitor will consider when acting on the purchase of a home in the park. Therefore Conveyancing fees should not be significantly higher. Of course, more stamp duty may be payable on the higher purchase prices, and for anyone selling their agents fees will be similarly increased.
Not everyone can afford the high prices – developers target nearby areas
The opportunity to live in this beautiful part of the country will attract many, with its convenient location near to London and the busy towns along the coast.
Commenting on their report, Suren Thiru, housing economist at Halifax, said:
"Properties that are located within National Parks typically demand a substantial premium over neighbouring areas, reflecting the lifestyle benefits often associated with residing in some of the country's most picturesque locations. Such areas often prove especially attractive for wealthy urban dwellers looking for a property in idyllic surroundings. However, high property prices have created affordability difficulties for many of those living and working in National Parks. "
Many developers are looking for opportunities to provide new homes in some of the communities immediately adjoining the park.
Barratt Homes has a range of new homes for sale in Hassocks, a sought-after village location overlooking the Downs, ideally placed for commuting to London, easy access to Gatwick and just a short step from Brighton. A few miles further north at Hammonds Ridge, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 9RG, Charles Church have a development constructed with sustainable methods and elements which ensures they are more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run.
Conveyancing Solicitors will be happy to assist anyone wanting to buy one of these new homes, or any existing residence within one of the National Parks.