During the 1980’s the future of some quaint market towns was looking bleak and many people wanted to become city dwellers. Most people worked in large cities and so wanted to be near to avoid the dreaded commute, those who did not mind a short commute settles in medium sized towns instead and lived a middle-class lifestyle. However things have changed a great deal since the 1980’s and research now proves that houses in market towns now include a £30,000 premium, this is because of the desirable location of living in the country. The north, south divide is still evident though because the south tends to recession proof whilst the north of the country is not.
The market town of Beaconsfield is the most expensive market town in England; prices here reach on average £736,585. Take into account that other parts of the same county only have an average house price of £300,397 and it seems that to live in Beaconsfield you have to pay 145% more for the privilege.
It seems that market towns are now becoming in vogue, reasons include the lower levels of crime than cities, less traffic congestion and an easy pace of life. A poll by LloydsTSB showed that the most expensive market towns were in the south of England, only two were located outside of the Home Counties. These two places were Winchcombe in Gloucestershire and Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire. Interestingly three of the four least expensive are found in County Durham. Wetherby in Yorkshire has average house prices twice that of the rest of the county and Bakewell in Derbyshire has house prices 90% more expensive than the rest of the county.
The history of market towns goes back centuries and they were mostly located by a river or ancient roads. Peasant farmers used to bring their produce to sell here hence the reason they are called market towns, to hold a market you needed to have permission from the King so they also needed political contacts too. Beaconsfield has always been popular because it is exactly halfway between Oxford and London and so was a place for travellers to stop off, this is still the case today as the motorway out of west London still passes by. The schools are also fantastic in the area, always a plus point, and it is only 20 minutes from Heathrow airport and motorways are nearby. The town still has a market day on Tuesday.
The cheapest market town in England is Ferryhill in County Durham. Property prices here have gone below £100,00 since the crisis of 2008, the area has been classed as a blank space at the moment and estate agents cannot even give properties away.
The most expensive market towns are listed below:-
1.Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Average Property Price: £736,585
2.Winchcombe, Gloucestershire: £360,451
3.Cranbrook, Kent: £353,726
4.Midhurst, Sussex: £342,975
5.Ringwood, Hampshire: £341,076
6.Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire: £333,834
7.Lewes, Sussex: £329,594
8.Petersfield, Hampshire: £324,808
9.Saffron Walden, Essex: £322,378
10.Tenterden, Kent: £321,317
All of the details are gathered from Land Registry.