House prices in beauty spots rise by £900 a month

Country house

House prices in some of the UK's most picturesque locations have increased by an average of £110,000 in the past 10 years.

This is an average of £900 a month in the past decade in each of the UK's areas of outstanding natural beauty, according to research from Lloyds TSB.

In 2002 prices were at an average of £109,355 and have shot up 87% to £235,245 this year.

These house prices have risen nearly three times higher than the national rise in earnings of 32% over the same period. The average house price in an AONB is now seven times higher than the average salary and therefore affordability of houses in these areas has declined.

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Solway Coast in Cumbria saw the greatest price hike of 124.5%, just ahead of the Northumberland Coast, where prices were up 123.8%.

But the most expensive beauty spot is now the Surrey Hills at an average price of £407,568, which is 50% more than the average UK house price, followed by High Weald in Sussex where houses are priced at £329,441.

Quality of life

An area of outstanding natural beauty is defined as a previous landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding that it is in the nation's interest to safeguard them.

"The relatively high property values in many of these locations reflect the quality of life benefits associated with living in some of our most idyllic beauty spots," explains Suren Thiru, housing economist for Lloyds TSB.

"However, the fact that property prices have typically risen considerably faster than average earnings has created significant affordability difficulties for many of those living and working in such locations," Thiru adds.

Areas of natural beauty (AONB) with the highest house price increases 2002-2012

AONB Average house price 2002 Average house price 2012 10 year % change 10 year £ change
Solway Coast £79,322 £178,049 124% £98,727
Northumberland Coast £82,819 £185,376 124% £102,557
Kent Downs £148,970 £320,090 115% £171,121
Forest of Bowland £102,805 £212,301 107% £109,496
Cornwall £107,201 £219,798 105% £112,597
North Pennines £95,061 £189,301 99% £94,240
Nidderdale £97,353 £192,552 98% £95,199
Lincolnshire Wolds £66,081 £128,608 95% £62,527
Norfolk Coast £92,241 £178,144 93% £85,903
Chichester Harbour £147,735 £279,367 89% £131,632
England AONBs £125,860 £235,367 87% £109,355