House prices in market towns across England are, on average, £22,616 (or 11 per cent) higher than their county average, whilst the average house price, at £235,719, is 6.4 times average gross annual earnings.
Such is the popularity of market towns that this house price premium has nearly doubled from £11,691 in 2002, when the average house price in market towns was £132,870, compared with an average of £121,179 for their county.
Around two-thirds of market towns have higher house prices than neighbouring towns
61 per cent of market towns have a higher average house price than their county average. Beaconsfield in Bucks has the largest premium with houses trading at 163 per cent above the average house price in the county.
Bakewell has the next highest premium with prices 123 per cent above the Derbyshire average, followed by Wetherby where properties cost almost twice as much (96 per cent) 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 (£405,590) and Tenterden in Kent (£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. Twenty-two market towns – 19 per cent 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.
Lloyds TSB housing economist Nitesh Patel said: “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.
“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.”