With skyscrapers dominating the city skyline and hundreds of built-up areas, London can feel like a concrete jungle. Perhaps surprisingly, the capital does also boast an impressive number of sprawling parks in places such as Hampstead, Richmond and even the city centre. But how much of a premium do you have to pay to live near one?
Stunning green spaces offer a welcome respite from the rat race for the more than eight million people who call London home.
But in a city known for its eye-watering house prices, can the amount of nearby green space have an impact on the value of a house or flat?
Estate agency firm Benham and Reeves claims it can, after analysing the relationship between the amount of green space and average house prices in every London borough.
Which? looks at the results of the study and explains your options when looking to buy a property in London.
How London house prices are affected by green space
Benham and Reeves looked at the amount of London covered by ‘public open green space’ – 31%, according to the London Data Store – and Land Registry data showing that the average London house price is £530,201.
The estate agency then divided the average house price in each borough by the amount of green space in order to work out what it claims is the green space premium in each area.
According to the research, Londoners are paying a £245 per square metre premium for their parks and public outdoor spaces.
The table below shows how it breaks down in each borough.
- Find out more: buying a property in London
London’s ‘green space premium’
The amount paid per square metre (psm) of green space varies dramatically across London’s 32 boroughs.
The green space premium is a whopping £5,638 psm in the City of London (which encompasses the financial district), where parks are few and far between, and a still-punchy £753 psm in Kensington and Chelsea, London’s smallest borough.
If you’d like to live near more green space without losing your proximity to the city centre, one option could be Camden, where a quarter of the land is green space and the premium is said by Benham and Reeves to be £146. You’ll need a big budget though: the average house price there is £788,656.
A slightly cheaper alternative is the East London borough of Hackney, where 23% of the borough is given to green space and the premium has been calculated as £112. A property there will set you back around £536,344, according to the Land Registry.
Unsurprisingly the research has shown that the outer boroughs, where house prices are lower, tend to boast more public outdoor space and therefore a lower ‘green space premium’.
If green space is important to you and you can’t afford a home in Camden or Hackney, you might consider Bromley (58% green space), where you’d pay just £5 psm of green space and face a comparatively cheap average house price of £443,289.
People buying in Havering (59% green space) and Hillingdon (49%), where the average house prices are £373,653 and £413,038 respectively, pay £6 and £7 psm of green space, according to the research.
The map below shows the green space premium in every London borough.
- Find out more: house prices in the UK’s healthiest towns and cities
Buying a home in London
If you’re planning to buy a house or flat in London, now could be good time as property prices have recently dropped in London amid uncertainty over Brexit negotiations.
That said, prices in the capital, even in the cheapest areas, tend to be well above the UK average.
To balance out the high cost of London property, there are a number of schemes designed to give buyers a leg up:
London Help to Buy
The London Help to Buy equity loans scheme allows first-time buyers and home movers to borrow up to 40% of a property’s value from the government.
They can purchase the home with a 5% deposit and get a mortgage for the remaining 55%.
London Help to Buy is only available on new-build homes priced £600,000 or less.
Shared ownership might be an option for you if you can’t afford to buy outright.
The scheme allows you to buy share of between 25% and 75% in a property, and pay rent on the remaining share.
- Find out more: affordable housing