English market towns command a premium of just over £30,000 compared to neighbouring towns.
Beaconsfield is the most expensive, with an average house price of £1,049,659 – the first market town with house prices over the million pound mark.
Homebuyers looking to live in one of England’s picturesque market towns will need to pay a premium of £30,788 compared to neighbouring areas, according to latest research from Lloyds Bank. House prices in English market towns typically command a premium and have grown, on average, by 21% in the past five years to an average price of £280,690 – 7.9 times the average gross earnings of all full time workers across England.
House prices in market towns across England are, on average, £30,788 or 12% higher than their county average and nearly seven in 10 (67%) market towns cost more when compared to the rest of their county. Since 2015, house prices in these areas have grown by £6,850.
Beaconsfield becomes the first market town where average house prices cost over £1 million
South East England dominates the top 10 most expensive market towns with Beaconsfield being the most expensive, with an average house price of £1,049,659 – the first market town to break above the £1 million mark. Henley on Thames (£831,452) and Alfresford in Hampshire (£541,529) are the next most expensive market towns. New towns in the South East to break the top 10 most expensive are Thame (£476,365), Hertford (£452,843) and Saffron Walden (£441,583).
Outside southern England, Altrincham is the most expensive market town with an average property value of £431,295. (See Table 1)
Beaconsfield - close to the Chiltern Hills and within a 40 minute commute to London – also carries the largest house price premium with homes costing 161% (or £647,623) above the county average of £402,036.
The horse racing market town of Wetherby has the second highest premium with an average house price that is more than double (110%) the average house price in West Yorkshire (£366,873 against £175,056). (Table 2)
More affordable market towns are in the north
For homebuyers looking for more affordable market town living, bargains can be found in northern England. Ferryhill with an average property value of £78,184 and Crook (£115,659), both in Durham, are the least expensive market towns.
Immingham in Lincolnshire follows with an average house price of £115,769 with further Durham towns Stanhope (£142,535) and Saltburn (£144,717) next. (Table 3)
Andrew Mason, mortgages product director at Lloyds Bank, said:
"Understandably, homebuyers continue to be attracted to the charm and high quality of life offered by market towns and are typically happy to pay extra to live there. The most expensive market towns are found in the South East at a commutable distance from London, with many homes in Beaconsfield costing more than £1 million."
House prices in market towns have risen by an average of £405 per month in past five years
The average house price in market towns across England has risen by £48,572 (or 21%) from £232,117 in 2012 to £280,690 in 2017. This is equivalent to an average rise of £405 per month over the past five years.
Oxfordshire towns Henley on Thames and Thame had the biggest increase in price since 2012, where the average house price rose by 53% for both towns – Henley on Thames by £288,847 to £831,452 and Thame by 164,582 to £476,365. Following the two Oxfordshire towns is Ampthill in Bedfordshire (48% or £116,361) and then Hitchin (45% or £120,933). (Table 4)