The property hotspots in England's loveliest locations

The value of homes in England's most picturesque spots has gone up by £110,000 over the past decade

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The Independent Online

Homeowners in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England have enjoyed average increases of more than £900 a month.

The average house price in postal districts within the 32 AONBs in England surveyed has risen by 87% (£109,355) over the past decade, from £125,860 in 2002, according to new figures from Lloyds TSB,

The rise in the typical AONB property price is nearly three times the 32% increase in average earnings over the same period which means that home affordability in these locations has worsened over the past 10 years. The average AONB house price of £235,215 in 2012 is seven times higher than average gross annual earnings, up from just under five times in 2002.

"The value of homes within areas of outstanding natural beauty has risen substantially over the past decade," said Suren Thiru, Housing Economist, Lloyds TSB. "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. 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."

Five AONBs have seen house prices double over the past decade. Solway Coast in Cumbria recorded the biggest increase at 124.5%, ahead of the Northumberland Coast (123.8%), and then the Kent Downs (115%) and Forest of Bowland (107%). The smallest increases were seen at Dedham Vale on the Suffolk-Essex border (61%) and the North Wessex Downs (66%).

The most expensive AONB in England with an average house price of £407,568 is Surrey Hills followed by High Weald (£329,441) and Kent Downs (£320,090). Forest of Bowland (£212,301) is the most expensive AONB outside southern England. The only two ANOBs in the survey with an average house price below £150,000 are Lincolnshire Wolds (£128,608) and Cannock Chase (£136,774).

On average, the report concludes that homebuyers are required to stump up an extra £14,951 (9%) to live in an English AONB and 66% of AONBs have a higher average house price than the regions in which they are located. Surrey Hills in the south east has the largest premium with houses trading at an average of 50% above the average house price in the region, followed by Forest of Bowland and Shropshire Hills.