Religious real estate: We've estimated the Church of England property portfolio to be worth £10.3bn
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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. But how much is the Church's property portfolio worth? We did a bit of work this week to find out.
Religious real estate
The Church of England will have benefitted from some significant property price growth since its foundation in 1534 and following some in-depth research by our team this week, we estimate that across England, the CofE is sitting on a religious real estate portfolio to the tune of £10.3bn!
We looked at the number of CofE churches in each area of England and the size of this property portfolio based on the estimated square footage. We then looked at what this equates to from a residential standpoint based on current property market values.
Over 15,000 churches in England
Here are a few of the key numbers:
- There are a total of 15,496 churches in England
- Based on the average church size of 2,093 sq ft, that's 32 million square feet!
- The average cost per square foot of a residential home is £318...
- Making the value of the whole portfolio over £10.3bn!
Where does the Church own the most?
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.
Should the Church offload property?
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... And add a huge amount of property back into the housing stock.
Since we buy any house (churches included) we'd happily purchase a couple!
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