Quality of life, architecture and history mean that market towns in the UK attract an average house price premium of £23,000, almost double the premium from 2002, new research shows.
The average house price in market towns, at £235,719, is 6.4 times average gross annual earnings, according to the latest research from Lloyds TSB.
Around two thirds of market towns have higher house prices than neighbouring towns and 61% of market towns have a higher average house price than their county average. Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire has the largest premium with houses trading at 163% above the average house price in the county.
Bakewell has the next highest premium with prices 123% above the Derbyshire average, followed by Wetherby where properties cost almost twice as much compared with West Yorkshire as a whole. Nine of the 10 most expensive market towns are in southern England.
Beaconsfield is also the most expensive market town in England with an average house price of £810,704. Winchcombe in Gloucestershire at £405,590 and Tenterden in Kent at £377,293 are the next most expensive.
Bakewell is the most expensive market town outside southern England with an average property value of £353,029. Overall some 22 market towns, that is 19% of those surveyed, have an average house price exceeding £300,000.
Ferryhill in Durham is the least expensive market town in England with an average house price of £75,011. Ferryhill is also the only town in the survey with an average house price below £100,000.
Market towns in northern England have seen the largest house price gains since 2002 with nine of the 10 top performing towns being in the north. The biggest increase was in Seahouses in Northumberland where the average price rose by 134% from £79,240 to £185,259.
‘Home buyers are attracted to the high quality of life, architecture, history, setting and community spirit typically associated with market towns and are accordingly prepared to pay a premium to live in them. Close to two thirds of market towns have higher house prices than other areas in their county,’ said Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Lloyds TSB.
‘Market towns are often particularly desirable for those looking to move out of urban areas and into more idyllic surroundings without sacrificing many of the valued amenities they currently enjoy,’ added Patel.