How much land in York is actually built on and what impact does this have on York property prices?

In my last article I mentioned how property prices were indicative of a number of factors, one of which being the level of supply and demand in the market.  York as a City has one of the highest average property prices in Yorkshire, circa £242,298.  As a side note, this compares favourably against the UK as a whole, £224,860 on average.

So why is York property so expensive?  One argument may be the level of actual physical property built within the area.  With an estimated population in 2018 of 208,079, York stands at 271.9 square kilometres and of this land, only 16% is actually built on (roads, buildings, quarries etc).  Nearly three quarters of land mass in York is farmland (fields, orchards etc), only 4% might be termed natural or semi-natural (moors, heathland, natural grassland etc), and 6% is green urban (parks, gardens, golf courses, sports pitches etc).

York map
Data and illustration provided by BBC news

On the face of it the lack of property built in York i.e. limited supply versus an ever-increasing demand for property, will drive up property prices.

However, if we compare other areas in Yorkshire, with differing ‘land utilisation’ percentages, this may tell a different story.

The table below shows that roughly 43.5 square kilometres in York is built on.  This is significantly less than Leeds (159.99 square kilometres), Sheffield, (106.69 square kilometres) & Doncaster (90.88 square kilometres).

Land data

In light of this, the number of people per square kilometre can be surmised as follows:

York – 4,784 people per built on sq. km
Leeds – 5,066 people per built on sq. km
Sheffield – 5,449 people per built on sq. km
Doncaster – 3,373 people per built on sq. km

Whilst one might expect the greater population per square mile to inflate property prices, this is seemingly not the case and York property maintains its status for higher property prices across the sample taken.  This would illustrate that this has less to do with the population per built on square kilometre and perhaps more to do with the actual land mass as a whole itself, York having the least.  Furthermore, property prices are generally more sensitive to fundamentals e.g. proximity of town/city centre, good transport and access links, low crime rates etc.

That being said, the population density of a town or city will have some impact on property prices simply down to supply and demand, and as the population in York grows (0.58% growth on average year on year since 2014) and with land being a limited commodity, it is likely property prices will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.


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