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Cost of culture: homes near heritage sites worth on average £80k more

16th November 2015

  • Property values near UNESCO sites are almost £80,000 higher than the UK average
  • Orkney offers the cheapest average house prices near a World Heritage Site in the UK
  • Liverpool and Bradford are the least expensive urban locations with the status
  • On the 70th anniversary of UNESCO – the body which awards World Heritage Status – research from property website Zoopla can reveal that homes located near to a World Heritage Site are worth 27% more than the average UK property.

    Whereas the average UK home is valued at £284,127, properties that benefit from the cultural status and international prestige that comes with UNESCO status can carry a heftier price tag to the tune of £77,993.

    The research from Zoopla found that the Orkney Islands are the UK’s most affordable World Heritage Site to buy a property near. Homes close to the series of Neolithic monuments in this remote location currently cost an average of £130,169, coming in at 178% LESS than the average house price near to a World Heritage Site in the UK (£362,120).

    While the Orkney Islands are the cheapest World Heritage location in the UK for homebuyers, areas within Bradford and Liverpool were the least expensive urban sites.

    Saltaire, the model village within the city of Bradford is the most affordable urban World Heritage Site. Awarded its status by UNESCO as an “exceptionally complete and well-preserved industrial village of the second half of the 19th century”, a typical property here costs just £155,868. This makes it the fourth cheapest UNESCO location in the UK.

    Liverpool’s Maritime Mercantile City was awarded World Heritage Status in 2004, with UNESCO describing it as “the supreme example of a commercial port at a time of Britain's greatest global influence.” The area includes the Albert Docks – the largest collection of Grade I-listed buildings anywhere in the UK. Typically, homes in this area are worth £167,771.

    Zoopla analysis found the longer an area has enjoyed World Heritage Status, the higher the property values are, as the area reaps the economic benefits. The first 10 UK locations to be granted World Heritage Status between 1986 and 1987, including Bath, Stonehenge and Blenheim Palace, have an average value of £424,873, compared to just £274,611 for the locations chosen since 2000.

    In July, the Forth Bridge in Scotland became the UK’s latest World Heritage Site. Located between Edinburgh and Dunfermline, average homes in the area currently cost £202,011. This means the area is ninth cheapest in the rankings.

    The traditional World Heritage Sites in London are the most expensive to live near. Properties in the proximity of the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey are comfortably the priciest heritage location in the country, with a typical value of £1,715,292.

    UNESCO aims to promote peace and security through collaboration in education, science and culture. World Heritage Status is awarded to natural or cultural landmarks considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. Other sites around the world include Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, east Africa’s Serengeti and the Egyptian Pyramids.

    Lawrence Hall of Zoopla commented: “Bradford and Liverpool offer fantastic opportunities for potential buyers to live in cities which have shaped world culture. Britain’s World Heritage Sites have contributed massively to our history and our research shows that living near to one can add significantly to a property’s value. Looking at the most recent site to gain World Heritage Status, homeowners near the Forth Bridge could expect to see property values increase in future, as the full benefits the award brings to the area begin to be felt.”

    Average house prices near world heritage sites

    Rank World Heritage Site Post Code Year Status Awarded Average Property Value (Nov 2015)
    1 Heart of Neolithic Orkney, Scotland KW15 1999 £130,169
    2 Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, Wales NP4 2000 £139,747
    3 New Lanark, Scotland ML11 2001 £150,579
    4 Saltaire, West Yorkshire BD18 2001 £155,868
    5 Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd, Wales LL55 1986 £165,549
    6 Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City L3 2004 £167,771
    7 Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland BT57 1986 £174,767
    8 Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, Wales LL20 2009 £196,404
    9 The Forth Bridge, Scotland EH30 2015 £202,011
    10 Durham Castle and Cathedral DH1 1986 £216,771
    11 Derwent Valley Mills, Derbyshire DE4 2001 £256,321
    12 Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire TF8 1986 £256,992
    13 Dorset and East Devon Coast (Jurassic Coast) EX12 2001 £265,862
    14 Canterbury Cathedral CT1 1988 £268,382
    15 Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Hadrian’s Wall) NE47 1987 £269,012
    16 The Ruins of Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire HG4 1986 £276,863
    17 Old and New Towns of Edinburgh EH1 1995 £279,319
    18 Stonehenge and Avebury SP4 1986 £280,411
    19 Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape TR20 2006 £285,189
    20 City of Bath BA1 1987 £424,510
    21 Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire OX20 1987 £468,563
    22 Maritime Greenwich SE10 1997 £617,940
    23 Tower of London EC3N 1988 £762,342
    24 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew TW9 2003 £926,358
    25 Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey SW1A 1987 £1,715,292
    Source: (November 2015), UNESCO

    - Ends -

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