The Land Trust, a charity committed to the sustainable management of open spaces for community benefit, has published a series of reports investigating the benefits and value of green spaces in the UK. As well as the obvious benefits of people having access to an open, natural environment within urban areas, the studies also looked at the economic and financial value of open spaces – including the effect on local house prices. The research, carried out by the Land Trust alongside various partner bodies, has been published in three separate reports: The Value of our Green Spaces, The Hidden Value of our Green Spaces, and The Economic Value of our Green Spaces.
The Value of our Green Spaces
The Value of our Green Spaces 2016 report investigated the beneficial effect of open spaces on people’s lives, including such factors as stress and happiness. Highlights of the report – a number of which have the obvious potential to positively affect property prices in an area – included:
- Nine out of ten people said green spaces play a positive part in their health and wellbeing.
- Nine out of ten feel green spaces help make an area more desirable, leading to economic uplift.
- Nine out of ten feel that green spaces encourage them or others to keep fit and healthy.
- Three quarters think green spaces bring local communities closer together.
- One third think that green spaces can help reduce crime and antisocial behaviour.
The report also looked at value in economic terms, comparing the cost of maintaining green spaces with the value gained in benefits:
- For every £1 spent by the Land Trust, society benefits by £30.30 in health care provision because people using green spaces feel fitter and healthier.
- The Land Trust’s green spaces contribute the equivalent of £53.2 million in benefits to the health and welfare sector each year.
- For every £1 spent by the Land Trust, society benefits by £23.30 towards the cost of crime and antisocial behaviour, as green spaces offer community activities and bring people together.
- The perceived reduction in crime due to the Land Trust’s activities is equivalent to a £40.9 million saving to society each year.
The Hidden Value of Green Spaces
The Land Trust’s The Hidden Value of Green Spaces 2017 report looked at similar factors to the previous year’s study, including economic analyses of the societal and community benefits of open spaces. Highlights included:
- Every £1 invested in green spaces returns £35 to the wider economy and society.
- Managed green spaces help reduce the risk of potential flooding to nearby homes and businesses.
- Green spaces absorb and lock up carbon emissions, helping to reduce pollution.
- As hubs of community activities and learning, green spaces provide educational and health benefits to the local community, as well as creating employment opportunities.
The Economic Value of our Green Spaces
The most recent report, The Economic Value of our Green Spaces, will perhaps be of most interest to homeowners and those looking to buy property. Concentrating on one specific Land Trust property – Port Sunlight River Park in Wirral – as a case study, the report concentrates on a number of economic factors, including an analysis of local house prices. The study found:
- The park has added an estimated £7.8 million in total value to houses located within 500 metres, within three years of its opening.
- Within that 500 metres, there is a 5.4% increase in value for every 100 metres a house is closer to the park.
- Houses within 500 metres gained an average value of £8,674.
- Visitors to the park surveyed said on average that they would pay £9,478 more for a house next to a park.
- Nearly half of all park users visit a local business before or after visiting the park, directly boosting the local economy.
The report concludes by urging housing developers to consider and measure the positive benefits of green spaces on land and property values, and to build into their planning the costs for the long term maintenance of good quality green spaces.
Why this supports why you should get a mortgage on a house near a park!
Taken as a whole, the three reports from the Land Trust provide a compelling summary of the ways in which living near a park or other open green space can benefit an area – and those who live in it – by supporting the local economy, improving health and wellbeing, providing a focus for community activities and learning, and even increasing local property prices.
This is good news for anyone who currently lives close to a park or green space in the East of England, such as the Beaulieu development in Chelmsford, or Canvey Wick at Canvey Island – both managed by the Land Trust. And while it means that those hoping to buy a new home in such a location may have to shell out a bit more, it has benefits further down the line as house values have the potential to appreciate more quickly than houses in other areas, in turn increasing the value of your equity over time.