Well, it’s back! After a long summer away from the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ lives of Lord Grantham’s family and staff, we can get settled in for what will be the last series of Downton Abbey starting Sunday at 9pm. A sure sign winter is on the way…
But what most people may not have realised while watching the shenanigans of everyone from Lady Mary and her cohorts to Anna and Mr Bates is that Downton Abbey – and similar properties around the UK – are boosting the value of nearby homes by tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds, averaging out at a princely premium of £41,213 more than the surrounding area according to research from Britain’s biggest mortgage lender Halifax.
Properties near to Highclere Castle in Newbury – the setting for Downton Abbey but actually home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon – see a whopping boost of £155,532 or 44% more than those outside their postal area but within the same county. This is one of 14 areas where properties close to stately homes see a value increase averaging £150,000. Others include Winterborne House & Garden in Edgbaston, Birmingham (£162,551 or 91% premium), and Chatsworth House in Bakewell, Derbyshire (£154,063 or 89%).
The highest premiums – perhaps unsurprisingly – belong to properties near stately homes in or close to London, with Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath adding an eye-watering £770,023 or 120% in cash terms, followed by Ham House in Richmond upon Thames at £513,918 or 116%, and Ightham Mote in Sevenoaks adding £231,230 or 82% to property values within the same postcode area.
In fact, more than three quarters of all postal districts containing a stately home have higher house prices than other nearby locations, according to Halifax, and property prices in these areas have grown by around £746 per month since 2005. The only area to record a fall in property prices discovered by this research was Coleraine in Northern Ireland, where you will find Downhill House and Mussenden Temple. Here, nearby properties have fallen in value by 10% since 2005, amounting to £12,977.
That said, there are still 17 areas where buying a property that gives you a stately homeowner for a neighbour can be had at a discounted price to the rest of the local area. Buying near Wimpole Hall in Royston will typically cost you £50,000 less than the average price of a property in Hertfordshire. Similar discounts can be had near Saltram House in Plymouth (£40,903) and Osborne House on the Isle of Wight (£32,071).
So, if you fancy tea with Lady Edith, or popping round to borrow a cup of sugar from Mrs Patmore, the chances are you will be making a good investment in the neighbourhood.