Research into the effects of Conservation Areas on value

Research commissioned by English Heritage and carried out by the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2012 has proved the value of conservation areas. 

Row of housing in Worcester

Foregate Street and the Tything Conservation Area, Worcester

What the research involved

  1. A statistical analysis of over 1 million property transactions between 1995 and 2010 from the Nationwide building society, and data on the characteristics of over 8000 English conservation areas. This is the first rigorous, large-scale, analysis of the effects of conservation areas on house prices in England.
  2. An assessment of people's perceptions of conservation areas, and how these relate to house prices. This involved a survey of residents in 10 conservation areas in and around London, supplemented by interviews with local planning officers.

The full report is available to download below:

1. What the analysis of house prices found

  • People value living in conservation areas
    Houses in conservation areas sell for a premium of 23% on average. A premium of around 9% exists even after adjusting for other factors that affect house prices such as location and type of property. This adjusted premium was lower for conservation areas deemed to be "at risk", being approximately 5%.
  • Conservation areas have had stronger house price appreciation than other areas
    On average, property prices inside conservation areas have grown at a rate that exceeded comparable properties elsewhere by 0.2% a year.
  • Properties closer to the centre of conservation areas sell for more
    The premium for living towards the centre is approximately double that at the edge controlling for other factors, suggesting that people value being surrounded by a greater density of heritage.
  • People value living near to conservation areas
    There is also a premium (albeit less) for properties outside conservation areas being more closely located to a conservation area. This premium is found to decline from the boundary of the areas and becomes 0 at around 500-700m distance.

2. What the survey of conservation area residents found

Attitudes to planning regulation

  • There was overall no universal negative attitude toward planning regulations.
  • Home owners who had applied for permission were generally more likely to have positive attitudes toward planning controls than those who had not applied.
  • Especially in areas with higher house prices and low deprivation, strong planning control was often linked back to protecting the coherence of a neighbourhood.

Relationships between attitudes and prices

  • The more distinctive and attractive residents perceived an area to be, the higher the property premiums were found to be in that area.
  • Areas where residents expressed more concern about planning being a constraint tended to be those with lower property premiums.