Why Ian Beale is a catch: he's sitting on a property fortune

Seven soap stalwarts - and the property fortunes they have amassed

A 'Family Album' gathering to mark the passing of Lou Beale, matriarch of Albert Square and Britain's favourite television granny, who "has died peacefully in her sleep" so that actress Anna Wing couldwithdraw from the cast of the BBC-1 top-rated serial to work on other projects.Lou is seated with Ian (Adam Woodyatt) and Michelle (Susan Tully).Standing are, from left: Arthur (played by Bill Treacher); Pauline (played by Wendy Richard), Kathy (played by Gillian Taylforth) and Pete (played by Peter Dean)

Soap characters may be designed to appeal to us, because they are 'just like us', but thanks to their property ownership, some of the longest-serving characters are in an enviable position that most of us can only dream of. Ian Beale is doing particularly well for himself.

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Online estate agent eMoov.co.uk calculated how long each veteran character had been on their respective show, and how much their property had gained in value over that time. It found that Ian Beale has benefited enormously from the fact that Eastenders is positioned amidst soaring London property prices.

He has seen his terraced house in East London rise to a value of £494,231 - which is a 481% increase since he first appeared in 1985. There's therefore a good chance that his property has been a far better investment than any of his array of business interests.

Two other veterans have seen their property prices rise more than 400% since they moved in. Charlie Fairhead has been in Casualty since 1986. Assuming he bought a semi-detached house in Bristol at the time (and didn't move to Cardiff when the programme did in 2011), it would now be worth £310,821 - a 420% increase over 31 years. Eric Pollard, meanwhile, has been in Emmerdale since 1986, and his Farm House in Craven would be worth £333,792 today - a 420% increase.

Coronation Street star William Roache who plays Ken Barlow, arrives at Albion United Reformed church, in Ashton Under Lyne, for the funeral of Coronation Street star Bill Tarmey, who played the soap's Jack Duckworth for three decades.

The biggest percentage increase belongs to Ken Barlow, who has seen an impressive 8746% increase in the price of his Coronation Street terraced home - to £142,759. This is largely down to the fact he has been on the show for such a long time - since 1960. He recently stuck his nose into his son's business - in an effort to stop him 'wasting his life' like he did. Perhaps, given his property fortune, Ken ought not to be too harsh on himself.

Not every long-standing soap character is sitting quite so pretty though. Tony Hutchinson has been in Hollyoaks since 1995, which means plenty of time for property price rises. However, local market performance means his house is worth just £143,855 - a 304% increase. Given his terrible reputation as a failed businessman, it should perhaps come as no surprise that his property investments haven't worked out particularly well either.

Jimmy Clay could be equally disgruntled with the performance of his property. He has been in Doctors since 2005, but in that time his Birmingham terraced house would have risen just 31% to £146,898.

In terms of property price, however, none of them can hold a candle to Alf Stewart from Home and Away. He has been on the show since 1988, and his property is worth a jaw-dropping £1,362,056. For a character first brought into the show as a reliable older bloke, perhaps his position as a property millionaire might just move him out of the category of 'relatable ordinary everyday bloke' - unless you also happen to be a multi-millionaire, looking for a soap opera that properly reflects your income bracket.

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