Where are England’s period home hotspots?

A new survey of heritage homes has revealed where listed buildings are most prominent in England and what it is about them that certain buyers can not resist.

Related topics:  Property,  Listed Buildings
Property | Reporter
4th October 2023
Listed Building 755
"Our heritage is inextricably linked to our love affair with period properties, a nostalgia that is reflected in their value and demand. It’s a classic period romance, one that buyers are spellbound by"
- Nick Leeming - Jackson-Stops

Jackson-Stops analysis of data from the National Heritage List for England has found that Gloucestershire, which appeared in four out of the top five postcodes for volumes of Listed buildings, is the county to look in for beautiful period architecture thanks to its mix of Georgian and medieval construction in and around Cirencester, Winchcombe, and towards Bath.

The top postcode here, GL7, witnessed a 21% rise in average house prices in just 12 months according to Rightmove, making a compelling link between period homes and property values. All of the top 10 heritage hotspots with the highest density of Listed buildings witnessed a significant price increase of between 5% and 21% compared to the national average of a 1.1% increase in a year.

Looking at new heritage areas; locations in England with the highest volume of Listed buildings added to the Register in the last decade, out of the 4,694 new entries, around 600 were residential focused. It may be no surprise that the GL postcode featured high on the list again, with GL6 taking the top spot.

Areas here are typically rich in historical architecture and period buildings, including popular picture-perfect buyer locations such as Slad, Painswick, and Minchinhampton. Other Nouveau Heritage areas included Stoke On Trent, Southwark and Lewes.

Despite one in five homes being built before 1919, there are only around 400,000 Listed building entries in England of both residential and commercial, compared to around 25 million households. Assuming that at least half of these registered buildings are non-residential, from landmarks to Cathedrals, this equates to 0.8% of total housing stock, representing a finite number that will only proportionally dwindle as more new homes are built.

Nick Leeming, Chairman at Jackson-Stops, explains: “England has the oldest housing stock in Europe. Our heritage is inextricably linked to our love affair with period properties, a nostalgia that is reflected in their value and demand. It’s a classic period romance, one that buyers are spellbound by.”

He continues: “Our clients often include sellers of period and Listed properties across England and Wales, from historic thatched country cottages to sprawling edge of village manor houses, so we see this love affair every day. Once people become the proud owner of a heritage building, it’s more than likely they never look back.”

The research reflects this sentiment. Noting its specialism in the sale of Listed houses, its Heritage Homes survey captured the views of 1,000 current period property owners to find that of those that answered with an intention of moving, 66% will buy a period or Listed home for their next home move.

Whilst another 22% of respondents were neither likely nor unlikely, it was only a surprising minority of just 12% who cited moving to another period home - as opposed to a newer build - as either quite or highly unlikely.

Similarly, a confident majority of 80% of those surveyed believe that period property, such as Victorian and Georgian homes, hold their value either the same or better than their newly built counterparts. Whilst 15% were unsure of this, just 5% believe that period properties hold their value worse than newer built constructions; a nod to the capital appreciation that can often be at play with Listed homes in central locations.

Interestingly, the data revealed that 37% of period property homeowners were first-time buyers, highlighting their multi-generational appeal. When asked what prompted respondents to buy their current period home, the overwhelming top two answers were down to their unique charm and character (32%) and larger proportions (28%).

The most favoured building style to live in pre-1910 is Victorian (39%), according to the survey results, closely followed by Georgian (23%) and historic thatched cottages (22%). Nearly half of all respondents lived in Victorian buildings (47%), reflecting both their relative prominence within England’s urban landscape, as well as their lasting popularity for families, seeing many stay loyal to their typically wider features and ornate details.

Victorian houses are known for their high ceilings, big fireplaces, and structural durability, so it’s of little surprise then, that high ceilings (41%) and big fireplaces (36%) were the most desired features.

Dawn Carritt, Country House specialist at Jackson-Stops, says: “The kudos of Listed buildings remains a huge draw for buyers across the world, which is enhanced by our unique history. Our country houses for centuries have been the jewel in the crown of Britain’s property market, largely immune from wider fluctuations in demand. But expectations are starting to evolve, and Listed buildings that have already been renovated tend to attract more interest and hold their value best.

“The conservation of old buildings is one of the most effective ways we can protect our environment; as the custodians of our built heritage, the more buildings we can preserve or bring back to life the less we need to build new houses with all the natural resources they inevitably require.”

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