House buyers in small rural towns face a 13 per cent premium on the UK’s market average, equivalent to an additional £36,116, according to research from Halifax.
The premium rose 8.4 per cent, or £2,812, between 2019 and 2020, with the ten most expensive market towns situated in the south of England,
Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire came out as England’s most expensive for the third year running, where the average price of a house was £1.13m in 2020.
In contrast, the average house price in England’s least expensive market town, Ferryhill in Durham, was £86,351 - more than £1m less.
Halifax took house price data from the Land Registry, tracking price movements across 134 of England’s market towns.
Managing director Russell Galley said while market town homes came at a premium, many were still more affordable than their city counterparts.
Carl Shave, director of Just Mortgage Brokers, said he expects the market town premium to go up in the coming months.
He said: “I would expect the 13 per cent quoted to only increase.
“With home working becoming more of the norm we may find that other further reaching areas from the city give the greater increase in value".
Dominik Lipniki, director at Your Mortgage Decisions, agreed. “With city and commuter belt living becoming less attractive, the premium is likely to be even higher come 2021.”
Previous data collected by Halifax showed the premium dipped 15.6 per cent back in 2019. Though over the past ten years, it has still steadily risen along with house prices.
Areas which have seen the biggest premium increases compared to the rest of their county over this period included Georgian town Alresford in Hampshire, Keswick in the Lake District, and Stamford in Lincolnshire.
Tony Hall, Saffron Building Society’s mortgage sales head, pointed out that “it does get to an even more granular level within these locations...where the same house in a ‘better’ street will have another noticeable value premium.”
Ultimately, Hall put the rising premium down to “a matter of personal preference”.
“Logic dictates ‘why would you pay more than you must’, however the true decision maker, ‘emotion’, rules supreme.”