When it comes to house prices, it is surprising how much of the value of a home is determined by external factors that don’t concern the property itself. The area in which a property is situated is, for some people, just as if not more important than the property itself. London is a good example, with homebuyers willing to spend hundreds of thousands more on properties there compared to other regions.
It raises the question, what is it about an area which increases house prices? More specifically, what are the local amenities that have the biggest impact on what buyers are willing to spend on a property?
According to surveys, approximately 45% of home buyers list access to public transport as a top priority. It’s therefore easy to see how proximity to transport hubs will increase property prices, especially in commuter areas. Nevertheless, prices will be affected by the type of hub. Train stations are the most desirable transport links to be near to, while airports are the least. Being near an airport might be beneficial for someone who does business abroad frequently, however most people will get little value from having one close by. Homes directly under flight paths will see their value fall compared to those not under the flight path.
It is also worth noting that there is a sweet spot when it comes to living near to a transport hub. The area with a radius of a 10-minute walk from a station is where property prices peak. Too much further and the property might be deemed too far, and getting too close comes with the added footfall and commotion associated with transport links.
Easy access to a park or green space is a great selling point for any property. In cities, where many properties do not come with an outside area, a short walk to a nice park or garden is a top priority for many. It’s not only a good place to exercise but is also good for mental well-being.
Having a regional or metropolitan park within 600m of your home could add up to 3% to the value of your home.
For most families, having a good school nearby can be a deciding factor when buying a house. A government study found that homes situated close to the top 10% of primary schools saw prices 8% higher than those in the surrounding areas. A similar trend was also found for secondary schools.
The reputation of the school will be a deciding factor in how sought after homes will be in their catchment area. Similarly to transport links, it is preferable to not be located too close to a school. If you live opposite the school gates, you will be faced with the noise and traffic that schools create, which will put buyers off.
Homes near to a large supermarket have been shown to be more valuable compared to those a further distance away. Interestingly, different supermarkets can increase the value of properties differently. For example, having a Waitrose nearby has been shown to add almost £40,000 to the value of a house, while having a Lidl in close proximity will only add around £4,000.
Having said this, it is difficult to draw a cause-and-effect relationship between the two. It is just as likely that supermarkets, particularly high-end ones like Waitrose, target areas with higher property prices, so it is possible that supermarkets only add to already higher prices.
A high-quality restaurant has been shown to increase the price of a significantly. Unsurprisingly, the higher the quality of the restaurant, the more house prices go up. A Michelin star restaurant has been found to increase house prices by up to 50%, however, as with supermarkets, it is equally likely that high-end restaurants seek out existing affluent areas, meaning their direct impact on house prices is debatable.
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