House prices in market towns are on average £14,000 (or 6%) higher than their county average, according to research from Lloyds Bank.
Two out of three market towns have an average house price that is above their county average. Beaconsfield is the most expensive English market town with an average house price of £861,371 and also has the largest premium with houses trading at 181% (or £554,917) above the county average. Bakewell has the next highest premium with prices 99% (£160,459) above the Derbyshire average, followed by Keswick in Cumbria (95%).
Ten of the most expensive market towns are in southern England. Lewes in Sussex (£382,219) and Cranbrook in Kent (£381,598) are the next most expensive market towns in England after Beaconsfield. Bakewell is the most expensive market town outside southern England with an average property value of £322,519.
Ferryhill in County Durham is the least expensive market town in England with an average house price of £84,018. Ferryhill and Immingham in Yorkshire and the Humber (£97,722) are the only towns in the survey where the average house price is below £100,000.
House prices in market towns have risen by an average of £636 per month in past decade. The average house price in market towns across England has risen by 50% from £153,776 in 2003 to £230,061 in 2013. This is equivalent to an average rise of £636 per month over the past decade.
Marc Page, Mortgages Director at Lloyds Bank, said: “The popularity of living in market towns is clearly evident from the significant premium that many of them command over their neighbouring towns. Indeed, recent government research concludes that cities and smaller towns should try and replicate the community spirit, thriving high streets and social networks often seen in market towns.
“Market towns offer an excellent quality of life, with high levels of health and low crime and unemployment; they also tend to have higher levels of retired people and young couples without children. Market towns are seen as desirable places to live – small enough for people to feel included but large enough to remain private.”
More than a quarter of the market towns have seen house prices grow by more than 50% since 2003. Eight of the ten market towns recording the largest price increases are in northern England with five in the North East. The biggest increase was in Saltburn on the north east coast where the average price rose by 94% from £68,899 to £133,889. Saltburn is followed by Berwick upon Tweed in Northumberland (85%), Seahouses in Northumberland (84%) and Ferryhill (77%). In southern England the largest house price growth was recorded in Cranbrook in Kent (66%) followed by Lewes in Sussex (65%).
Seven out of ten market towns have seen prices rise since 2009. Average house prices have risen in seven out of ten market towns since the bottom of the housing market in 2009. Contrary to the decade as whole, it has been market towns in the south that have performed best in the past few years. Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire recorded the largest price growth in the past four years (45%), followed by Didcot in Oxfordshire (27%) and Horsham in Sussex (25%). The average price growth for all market towns in the survey was 8%.
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