The rise in spa town house prices since 2001 was 12% (or £13,595) greater in monetary terms than the average increase in overall property prices across England and Wales – £129,203 against £115,608.
Home buyers are required to part with more than an extra £48,000, on average, to live in a spa town. House prices in spa towns in England and Wales are on average £48,123 (27%) higher than the average price in their county. This was almost double the average premium of £26,834 in 2001.
House prices command a premium relative to the surrounding area in sixteen of the eighteen spa towns in England and Wales. Homes in Ilkley, West Yorkshire (96% or £143,388) currently command the highest premium, followed by Boston Spa (85% or £127,634) and Bath (53% or £109,675). In contrast, the Powys spa town of Llandrindod Wells, trades at the largest discount to its county average (-12% or -£21,753).
Five spa towns have seen house prices more than double in the past decade. The largest increases were in Builth Wells (170%) and Llandrindod Wells (109%) – both in Powys in Mid Wales. Harrogate in North Yorkshire (107%) experienced the next biggest increase. At the other end of the spectrum, Epsom in Surrey (62%) and the north Worcestershire town of Droitwich (72%) recorded the smallest increases.
As a result housing affordability in spa towns has deteriorated in the past ten years. Spa town house prices in 2011 are, on average, 8.3 times gross annual earnings. This is up from 6.0 times gross annual earnings in 2001.
Suren Thiru, Housing Economist at Lloyds TSB, said: "Homes in spa towns continue to command a substantial premium over their neighbouring areas with the quality of life benefits and sense of history that typically characterise such locations still resonating amongst home buyers. However, as a consequence of rising property prices, housing market conditions in spa towns have become tougher over the past decade, particular for those looking to get on the property ladder for the first time."
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