People pay £30,000 more to live in a market town

News at Newton Fallowell | 01/11/2017

What’s the latest?

Homebuyers are prepared to pay a £30,000 premium for the lifestyle benefits that come from living in a market town.

The typical home in an English market town costs £280,690, an average of £30,788 or 12% more than properties in neighbouring towns, according to mortgage lender Lloyds.

House prices in these towns have jumped by 21% during the past five years, with homes in Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, England’s most expensive market town, now commanding seven-figure price tags.

Andrew Mason, mortgages product director at Lloyds, 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.”

10 most expensive market towns 2017    
Market town County Region Average house price  2017 (£)*
Beaconsfield Buckinghamshire South East 1,049,659
Henley-on-Thames Oxfordshire South East 831,452
Alfresford Hampshire South East 541,529
Cranbrook Kent South East 490,566
Petersfield Hampshire South East 484,524
Thame Oxfordshire South East 476,365
Lewes Sussex South East 463,836
Hertford Hertfordshire South East 452,843
Marlborough Wiltshire South West 441,623
Saffron Walden Essex South East 441,583

Why is this happening?

Market towns typically combine rural charm with a certain level of amenities, such as shops, restaurants and transport links.

Unsurprisingly, this combination of factors makes them attractive places to live, increasing demand and driving up prices.

Meanwhile, because of their historic nature, there are generally not many new-build developments in or close to market towns, meaning the supply of properties remains limited.

At the same time, a number of market towns in the south east are within commutable distance of London, making them particularly appealing to people who work in the capital but do not want to live there.

This modern four-bedroom detached home in Beaconsfield is on the market for £875,000, and forms part of a development of just five properties

For £625,000 on Zoopla, this four-bedroom terraced house in Henley-on-Thames is a period property with feature fireplaces


Who does it affect?

The popularity of market towns means properties in these areas are increasingly priced beyond the reach of many people.

This is because the typical home in one of the towns now costs 7.9 times average gross earnings for a fulltime worker in England.

But houses in some market towns are significantly more expensive than others.

Beaconsfield is the priciest market town, with average homes costing just over £1m, followed by Henley-on-Thames, in Oxfordshire, at £831,452 and Alfresford, in Hampshire, at £541,529.

Market towns with highest house price increases 2012 – 2017    
Market town County Average house price  2012* £ Average house price  2017* £  % Change 2012 - 2017
Henley on Thames Oxfordshire 542,605 831,452 53%
Thame Oxfordshire 311,782 476,365 53%
Ampthill Bedfordshire 244,437 360,798 48%
Hitchin Hertfordshire 271,343 392,276 45%
Daventry Northamptonshire 184,010 264,084 44%
Diss Norfolk 201,658 289,382 44%
Yateley Hampshire 271,980 387,671 43%
Sandwich Kent 223,037 317,653 42%
Hertford Hertfordshire 318,524 452,843 42%
Cromer Norfolk 172,061 244,345 42%
All market towns in England 232,117 280,690 21%

Sounds interesting. What’s the background?

Beaconsfield is not only England’s most expensive market town, but it also commands the highest premium on the cost of homes compared with the rest of the county at 161%.

Wetherby, in West Yorkshire, has the second highest premium at 110%, followed by Henley-on-Thames at 108%.

There is a significant north-south divide in the cost of homes in market towns, with the 10 most expensive places all in the south east, while the 10 cheapest are in northern regions.

Ferryhill, in Durham, provides the best value for people who want to live in a market town, with homes there costing an average of just £78,184.

Properties in Crook, also in Durham, and Immingham, in Lincolnshire, cost an average of less than £116,000, while homes in Stanhope and Saltburn, both in Durham, and Tickhill, in Derbyshire, come in at under £150,000.



This characterful four-bedroom cottage dating back to the 1700s is available for £310,000 in the market town of Tickhill


10 most affordable market towns 2017    
Market town County Region Average house price  2017 (£)*
Ferryhill Durham  North 78,184
Crook Durham  North 115,659
Immingham Lincolnshire  Yorkshire and the Humber 115,769
Stanhope Durham  North 142,535
Saltburn Durham  North 144,717
Tickhill Derbyshire  East Midlands 147,543
Guisborough North Yorkshire  Yorkshire and the Humber 151,309
Marsden West Yorkshire  Yorkshire and the Humber 154,830
Boston Lincolnshire  East Midlands 161,538
Cartmel Cumbria  North 165,335

*Lloyds' survey tracked house price movements in 135 market towns across England, based on data from the Land Registry, for the 12 months to June 2017

Top 3 takeaways

  • Home-buyers will pay a £30,000 premium for the lifestyle benefits that come from living in a market town
  • The typical home in an English market town costs £280,690, an average of £30,788 or 12% more than properties in neighbouring towns
  • House prices in these towns have jumped by 21% during the past five years

Source: Zoopla