How living in a market town can add £100,000 to house prices

Emma Woollacott
Looking over the small town of Keswick on the edge of Derwent Water in the Lake District National Park.
Looking over the small town of Keswick on the edge of Derwent Water in the Lake District National Park.

Buying a home in a market town will cost you an average of £34,000 more than in neighbouring areas, with one in five costing an extra £100,000.

According to research from Lloyds Bank, market towns have become more than 30% more expensive than they were ten years ago, and seven out of ten have prices above their county average.

Beaconsfield in South Buckinghamshire - close to the Chiltern Hills and only 40 minutes from London by train - is the most expensive English market town, with an average house price of £958,909.

Henley on Thames in Oxfordshire and Alresford in Hampshire are the next dearest, with average prices of £748,001 and £492,645 respectively.

But while there's still a premium in the north of England, prices there are a little more manageable: in Durham, Ferryhill has an average property value of £93,291, and Crook averages £108,603.

For many, market towns offer the perfect combination of rural living with easy access to shops and other facilities.

"Market towns continue to be popular with homebuyers looking for a quality of life associated with country living," says Andy Mason, mortgages director at Lloyds Bank.

"These locations offer many benefits such as idyllic surroundings, history and wonderful homes without compromising on many other important amenities. As a result, the majority of homes in market towns command a significant premium over their neighbouring towns."

And house prices in market towns are rising fast - up by an average of £546 per month over the last ten years. The rise is biggest in Henley-on-Thames, where properties are 70% more expensive than a decade ago.

"Due to their historic character the number of properties in market towns tends to be limited," says Nicky Burridge of Zoopla.

"It is this mismatch between supply and demand that forces prices up, compared with homes in the surrounding area."

Market Towns with the highest premium over county house prices 2016

1. Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire: average £958,909 (premium 160%)
2. Wetherby, West Yorkshire: average £341,618 (premium 100%)
3. Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire: average £748,001 (premium 95%)
4. Southwell, Nottinghamshire: average £309,927 (premium 85%)
5. Keswick, Cumbria: average £302,615 (premium 73%)
6. Bakewell, Derbyshire: average £315,042 (premium 72%)
7. Marlborough, Wiltshire: average £439,658 (premium 71%)
8. Alresford, Hampshire: average £492,645 (premium 69%)
9. Middleton St George, Durham: average £215,442 (premium 65%)
10. Ormskirk, Lancashire: average £244,075 (premium 59%)