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Want a house by the perfect market town? Expect to pay a £23,000 premium

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Those looking at their dream home near a market town should be prepared to fork out a whopping £23,000 extra, according to Lloyds TSB.

House prices in market towns across England are, on average, £22,616 (or 11%) higher than their county average, while the average house price, at £235,719, is 6.4 times average gross annual earnings.

This new figure is almost double what it was 10 years ago, where the premium for living in a market town was £11,691.

The average house price 2002 in market towns was £132,870, compared with an average of £121,179 for their county.

Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Lloyds TSB, said: “Home buyers are attracted to the high quality of life, architecture, history, setting and community spirit typically associated with market towns and are accordingly prepared to pay a premium to live in them.

“Close to two-thirds of market towns have higher house prices than other areas in their county.

“Market towns are often particularly desirable for those looking to move out of urban areas and into more idyllic surroundings without sacrificing many of the valued amenities they currently enjoy.”

Around two-thirds of market towns have higher house prices than neighbouring towns, with Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire with the largest premium. Houses there are 163% above the average house price in the county.

Beaconsfield is followed by Bakewell (123%) and Whetherby (96%). Unsurprisingly, nine out of 10 of the most expensive market towns are in Southern England.

However, market towns in northern England have seen the largest house price gains since 2002.

Nine of the 10 top performing towns are in the north. The biggest increase was in Seahouses in Northumberland where the average price rose by 134% from £79,240 to £185,259.

Seven other market towns – eight in total – have seen property values more than double during the period – since 2002 average prices in market towns grew by 77%.

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