For some, it’s the location of good schools, others, may want to live near family, or have access to a particular cultural offering. And also, according to a recent report, the draw of living in a market town, is sufficient to inflate property prices considerably above local averages.
Research by Lloyds Bank, based on 2015 property prices, suggests that living in a market town can set you back, up to an average of almost £24,000 more than living elsewhere in the locality. As you might expect, the top ten most expensive market towns overall are all in the South East, in commuting distance of the City. Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire tops the list, where the average house price is only just short of £1million, an eye watering £997,222.
Beaconsfield also tops the list of market towns with the highest “premium”, compared with prices elsewhere in the county. Property values in the town come in at 189% more than in the rest of Buckinghamshire. More surprisingly perhaps, the other nine towns listed in this category, are all further north. Three towns in Lancashire feature, Ormskirk, Carnforth and Longridge, in Nottinghamshire Southwell and Bingham, and Keswick puts in an appearance representing Cumbria. Wetherby in West Yorkshire and Bakewell in Derbyshire, are tied in second place, where property prices are 100% more expensive than in the rest of the county, £325,000 and £350,000, respectively.
Most interestingly for us perhaps, is the appearance of one of our very own “market towns” on the list. I use inverted commas, because I’m not sure how far Middleton St George can really be described as a market town. It is a village, and to all intents and purposes, a commuter-village for people working in Darlington, or perhaps further afield. Darlington, of course, is a market town, and has been for hundreds of years.
The appearance of Middleton St George on the list, and indeed the London commuter-towns, begs a question about whether the premium of living in a market town is, as the report by Lloyds Bank suggests, a product of the semi-rural idyll, with access to good local amenities, or has as much to do with the transport links and proximity to employment. Discounting the opportunities presented within the towns themselves, nearly all of those listed are within a stone’s throw of major cities and urban centres.
There is no doubt, that there is something inherently quaint about market towns, although the vitality and frequency of many markets has fallen in recent decades. It seems likely, however, that those towns making the list, have more than just their semi-urban assets to recommend them.
Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information go to http://www.latimerhinks.co.ukor call 01325 341500.
Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.