‘Downton effect’ for house owners living near stately homes

Homeowners living close to stately homes have seen the value of their own property surge over the last decade - in what has been described as the “Downton effect”.
Highclere Castle in Berkshire where filming of Downton Abbey takes place. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireHighclere Castle in Berkshire where filming of Downton Abbey takes place. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Highclere Castle in Berkshire where filming of Downton Abbey takes place. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The average price of a property in the same postal district as a stately home has jumped by around twice the national average property price increase seen since 2005, Halifax found.

A typical property near a stately home would now set a buyer back £319,203 on average, which is a 39% or £89,506 increase compared with 2005.

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Across the country generally, average house prices have increased at a slower rate of 22% or £39,311 over the same period, Halifax found.

The rising cost means home buyers now face paying a premium of £41,213 on average to live in a postal district with a stately home, compared with buying a property in a surrounding area of the same county.

More than three-quarters (76%) of the postal areas with stately homes that Halifax looked at command higher house prices than their neighbouring locations.

Homes close to Kenwood House, situated on the edge of Hampstead Heath in London, command the biggest cash premium, with buyers paying a cool £1.4 million to purchase a home there - £770,023 or 120% more than the average cost of property in the surrounding area.

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The next highest premium was found in the area of Ham House in Richmond upon Thames, where a buyer would typically pay £956,040 for a property - more than double the average house price in the surrounding area.

Outside southern England, the homes with the highest premiums were found in Cheshire. Properties close to Tabley House, Tatton Park and Peover Hall and Gardens, all in Knutsford, are worth £181,517 or 83% more on average than properties in surrounding areas.

Halifax found at least 14 places with stately homes where properties trade at an average premium of at least £150,000 - including Highclere Castle - the setting for Downton Abbey, which returns to TV screens on Sunday for a final series.

A home near to Highclere in Newbury, Berkshire commands a premium of £155,532 or 44%, Halifax found. House prices there have leapt by 40% over the last decade to reach £512,226 on average.

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Halifax’s report described the £41,000 premium that buyers pay to live in a property near a stately home as “Downton’s ‘halo effect’”.

Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said: “The popularity of shows like Downton Abbey evoke a time and lifestyle of a bygone age.”

While a stately home may be beyond most people’s budgets, Mr Ellis said: “We’re seeing more and more people who are prepared to pay a premium to live near one.”

But there are some places where home buyers can live near to a grand property at a discount compared with average house prices in their surrounding areas.

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For example, homes near to Wimpole Hall in Royston, Hertfordshire, have prices which are nearly £50,000 lower than the average house price in the surrounding county area.

A property near Saltram House in Plymouth has a price which is around £40,000 lower than the county average.

Meanwhile, property values in the area around Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland were found to be the least expensive in the survey, at £104,391 on average.

The next least expensive homes were around The Argory in Dungannon in Northern Ireland, where the average house price is £119,967 and Llancaiach Fawr Manor in Treharris, south Wales, where the average property value is £120,115.

In Scotland, researchers also found that buyers pay a typical premium of £39,390 or 24% to live near Scone Palace in Morayshire.