The Value of Living Next to Green Spaces

As gardens have shrunk, or even disappeared, the value of public green spaces has gone up. This was reflected in house prices long before COVID19. Since the pandemic struck, however, the value of public green spaces has gone up, both figuratively and literally.

Before COVID19

Back in October 2019, a report from the Office of National Statistics showed that homes in the vicinity of public green spaces carried a price premium. The closer the homes were to the green spaces and the more expansive the green spaces, the higher the price premium.

The authors of the report took great care to compare like with like. For example, they looked at factors such as the age of the property, its size and number of bedrooms and so on. They found that the level of price premium could vary according to the type of property and the area. There was, however, definitely a consistent price premium across all properties.

The lockdown and its effects

It’s common knowledge that the lockdown saw city dwellers taking refuge in parks, at least whenever they could. Some local authorities closed down parks. The official reason for this was generally to prevent crowds from gathering in them. There was unofficial suspicion that it was simply to reduce the costs of maintaining them. Either way, local residents were often furious.

Since the lockdown, data from YouGov for Ramblers shows that the perceived value of public green spaces has gone up significantly. Almost a fifth of adults said that being able to access nature and green space in their local area was more important to them now than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is particularly impressive given that almost two-thirds of adults said that being able to access nature and green space in their local area had always been important to them. The most frequent reasons given for valuing public green space were as a place to walk (78%) and as a place to relax (70%). Connecting with nature followed close behind (66%).


Right now it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to use current housing-market data to predict future developments. So much about the present situation is extraordinary. The UK is still in a pandemic environment and Brexit is on the way. This has led to the government taking emergency measures such as offering Stamp Duty relief.

On the other hand, it is possible to look at what trends were present before the pandemic and think about what the pandemic could mean for them. For example, home working was on the rise long before COVID19. At present, the signs appear to suggest that it will continue to be a major factor in the UK’s working life post-COVID19.

If that does happen, then the current “flight from the inner cities” is likely to continue, at least in the short- to medium-term. People will need spaces for functional home-offices. Over the longer term, however, inner cities could be regenerated, but with a very different balance of residential property, commercial property and public green spaces.



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