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

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%)

Most viewed properties of 2015
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Most viewed properties of 2015

The tenth most viewed property of the year on Zoopla, was this beauty in Penrith.

It went on the market in August for just £100,000, and the low price and the opportunity for transformation drew in thousands of people looking for a potential project.

This lovely home was the ninth most popular property of the view. Potential viewers were drawn by the opportunity to buy a five-bedroom detached property, complete with a garage and a drive, for just £187,950.

The eighth most viewed property was another relatively new, detached property, with a garage.

This home also boasts four bedrooms for just £197,950

Seventh place is impressive for a property that only hit the market in November.

It's another relatively new detached property with a garage, at the rock-bottom price - of £180,000

The cheapest home in the top ten comes in at number 6. For just £40,000 you get three bedrooms and a garage in Liverpool.

It's no wonder that so many people, who have been squeezed by soaring property prices, are keen to view a property that offers a glimpse of hope.

In fifth place is the first of two mega-expensive homes on the list - and by far the most unusual. This one, in Newport, south Wales, hit the market in February for £1,899 950.

The 1720s hunting lodge and tower had been transformed during an episode of Grand Designs in 2009 - by a couple who added a dramatic glass extension. Thousands of us couldn't resist having a look around.

This swanky new-ish property in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, made number four, despite only going on the market in October.

It ticks all the boxes that have put so many of these properties on the list - being detached, and offering five bedrooms plus a garage.

The price reflects the fact it offers all that - in one of the priciest parts of the country. It makes it the most expensive property in the top ten.

A detached property in Bradford, offering three bedrooms for just £149,950 made it to number three.

It's perhaps unsurprising that it attracted so much interest, because it's one of the cheapest properties in the top ten, and the many thousands of viewers must have been astonished they could get so much family home for their money.

The joint-second cheapest property on the list is the second most viewed property in the country.

It benefited from the fact that it went on the market at the end of 2014, so had plenty of time to attract viewers. However, the appeal of a detached, 3-bedroom house for just £100,000 drew viewers in their thousands.

The number one most viewed property in 2015 was this 6-bedroom farmhouse in County Durham.

It demonstrates that we're a nation of dreamers, drawn by the affordable £175,000 price tag - as well as the huge potential of a six-bedroom farmhouse, outbuildings, almost eight acres of land and planning permission for a wind turbine.

It's no wonder s many thousands of us popped online to dream of a cheaper and simpler life in the country.


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