House prices in English market towns:buyers pay a premium of almost £34k compared to neighbouring areas

Average house prices in England's historic market towns continue to outperform price growth nationally as buyers search for country charm with commuting distance of the capital.

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Buyers pay a premium of almost £34,000 for the privilege of moving to an English market town, while at least £100,000 is added to the cost of a home in the most popular and well-connected locations.

The research, by Lloyds Bank, reveals house prices in market towns have been rising by an average of £546 per month over the past 10 years.

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

“The most expensive market towns are typically found in the south of England and are a commutable distance from London. More affordable market town homes can be found in the north of England.”

Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire recorded the biggest growth, with house prices soaring by £308,000 (70 per cent) in a decade to £748,000 - which is more than £365,000 above the county average.

However, Beaconsfield in south Buckinghamshire – close to the Chiltern Hills and within a 40-minute commute of central London – has emerged as the most expensive market town in England with the average price of a home just below £1 million, an increase of 68 per cent in 10 years. 

This is 160 per cent - or more than £590,000 - above the county average.

“It’s a gorgeous town in that you have the new town and the old town, ” said Belinda Tingle, senior negotiator at Ashington Page estates in Beaconsfield.

“Schooling here is excellent. Plus it is 23 minutes by train into London and it's right on the doorstep of the M40 and the A40, which means easy access to Oxford and to airports.”

The south-east dominates the top 10 list of market towns with the highest price increases, with values more than doubling over the last decade.

Another Oxfordshire market town, Didcot, recorded growth of 58 per cent to £324,000, while nearby Thame saw house prices rise by 55 per cent to £387,000.

This is perhaps unsurprising given South Oxfordshire was found to be the best non-urban location to live in the whole of the UK. Plus, trains into London Paddington from Didcot Parkway take about 40 minutes.

Sandwich, a medieval Kentish town and a popular destination for tourists, is also on the top 10; as is Yately in Hampshire, an attractive town with easy road links to Reading and London.

Sussex dominates the rest of the list: Lewes is renowned for its ritualistic bonfire night celebrations and striking castle setting, with direct links to London Victoria; while many are drawn to the West Sussex town of Midurst for its rich historical architecture and easy access into rolling countryside.

Horsham, sitting between the Surrey Hills and the South Downs National Park in Mid Sussex, is a real commuter destination but retains a country feel; while Chichester, famous for its West End-feeding theatre scene, is also a bustling cathedral city. 

The least expensive market towns to live in are Ferryhill, where house prices are well below the national average at £93,000, and Crook (£108,000), both of which are in Durham, North West England.

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