Home Business Religious real estate – Church of England property portfolio estimated at £10.3bn

Religious real estate – Church of England property portfolio estimated at £10.3bn

871,000 people attend a Church of England service each week, although this has fallen from 975,300 since 2014 and will have no doubt dropped further due to lockdown restrictions.

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Church Of England’s Religious Real Estate Portfolio

The Church of England will have benefitted from some significant property price growth since its foundation in 1534 and the latest research by Yes Homebuyers estimates that across England, the CofE is sitting on a religious real estate portfolio to the tune of £10.3bn.

Yes Homebuyers looked at the number of Church of England churches in each area of England and the size of this property portfolio based on the estimated square footage. Yes Homebuyers then looked at what this equates to from a residential standpoint based on current property market values.

Oxford tops the table with 811 CofE churches covering an estimated 1,697,423 square feet in the area. With the current Oxford home going for £561 per square foot, the CofE is sitting on an impressive portfolio to the tune of £953m in Oxford alone.

London also ranks high in the CofE property portfolio, with 475 churches equating to 994,175 square feet of bricks and mortar worth an estimated £624,274,221.

St Albans (£571m), Bath &Wells (£555m), Chelmsford (£527m), Chichester (£513m), Southwark (£488m), Salisbury (£448m), Winchester (£447.5m) and Exeter (£428m) also rank in the top 10.

At the other end of the table, the Diocese of Sodor and Man is the CofE’s smallest diocese, with just 39 churches on the Isle of Man. Even still, the 81,627 estimated square feet of religious real estate is valued just shy of £27.5m in today’s market.

The Most Valuable Real Estate Portfolios

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, commented:

“With so many churches the length and breadth of the nation, it’s fair to say that the Church of England is probably sitting on one of the most valuable real estate portfolios around.

Some may question whether such a vast level of real estate is required when attendance has fallen, and we remain pushed for space when addressing the current housing crisis.

Should the Church of England decide to offload some of its portfolio, it would add a considerable sum to their balance sheet based on current market values.”

Table shows the estimated real estate value of CofE churches based on square footage in each location and across England as a whole
Location Number of CofE churches Total estimated sq ft* Average house price – Dec 2020 Average price per sq ft** Total estimated value of sq ft area***
Oxford 811 1,697,423 £443,509 £561.40 £952,940,508
London 475 994,175 £496,066 £627.93 £624,274,221
St. Albans 407 851,851 £529,873 £670.73 £571,358,198
Bath & Wells 559 1,169,987 £374,959 £474.63 £555,312,703
Chelmsford 576 1,205,568 £345,371 £437.18 £527,048,460
Chichester 475 994,175 £407,394 £515.69 £512,684,662
Southwark 355 743,015 £519,142 £657.14 £488,266,358
Salisbury 566 1,184,638 £298,659 £378.05 £447,850,970
Winchester 357 747,201 £473,190 £598.97 £447,554,193
Exeter 595 1,245,335 £271,402 £343.55 £427,830,134
York 582 1,218,126 £267,932 £339.16 £413,133,554
Lichfield 544 1,138,592 £269,369 £340.97 £388,228,944
Norwich 640 1,339,520 £219,105 £277.35 £371,512,762
St. Edms & Ipswich 479 1,002,547 £275,123 £348.26 £349,144,394
Leeds 597 1,249,521 £209,892 £265.69 £331,980,078
Canterbury 360 753,480 £325,890 £412.52 £310,825,167
Hereford 402 841,386 £269,024 £340.54 £286,522,914
Lincoln 625 1,308,125 £160,954 £203.74 £266,517,098
Guildford 211 441,623 £455,939 £577.14 £254,877,395
Ely 328 686,504 £287,956 £364.50 £250,231,988
Gloucester 381 797,433 £213,428 £270.16 £215,436,575
Truro 301 629,993 £262,939 £332.83 £209,683,553
Chester 342 715,806 £227,383 £287.83 £206,027,718
Peterborough 379 793,247 £196,132 £248.27 £196,937,778
Rochester 259 542,087 £254,559 £322.23 £174,674,823
Manchester 316 661,388 £200,514 £253.81 £167,870,159
Leicester 311 650,923 £201,956 £255.64 £166,402,197
Bristol 201 420,693 £311,829 £394.72 £166,055,993
Worcester 274 573,482 £219,787 £278.21 £159,549,522
Southwell & Nottingham 296 619,528 £197,856 £250.45 £155,161,352
Derby 313 655,109 £170,698 £216.07 £141,551,878
Carlisle 330 690,690 £144,791 £183.28 £126,589,659
Coventry 242 506,506 £197,253 £249.69 £126,468,167
Newcastle 238 498,134 £167,246 £211.70 £105,457,053
Portsmouth 167 349,531 £228,194 £288.85 £100,963,250
Sheffield 208 435,344 £183,090 £231.76 £100,894,993
Birmingham 184 385,112 £201,308 £254.82 £98,134,318
Liverpool 236 493,948 £148,324 £187.75 £92,739,462
Blackburn 271 567,203 £126,585 £160.23 £90,885,641
Durham 264 552,552 £113,761 £144.00 £79,568,227
Sodor & Man 39 81,627 £266,000 £336.71 £27,484,534
Church of England – overall 15,496 32,433,128 £251,907 £318.87 £10,341,954,232

*Based on the average size of a church at 2093 sq ft.

**Based on the average size of a house at 790 sq ft.

*** Total sq ft of churches multiplied by property value per sq ft.

Number of churches across England and in each diocese sourced from churchofengland.org

House prices sourced from Gov.uk UK House Price Index

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