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Property prices in small market towns outstrip those of most nearby towns and cities by an average of £30,000, according to Lloyds TSB.
House prices in English market towns are, on average, £29,319 (14%) higher than the surrounding counties.
More than two out of three (69%) market towns have higher house prices than neighbouring towns.
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire is the top performer with houses trading at 145% above the average house price in the county. The average house price is £736,585. Another 18 towns have average prices of more than £300,000.
Wetherby has the next highest premium with prices of £311,140, which are 99% above the West Yorkshire average.
Ferryhill in County Durham is the least expensive market town with an average house price of £98,799. Ferryhill is the only town with an average house price below £100,000.
Only 10 market towns have an average house price below £150,000. Three out of the 10 most inexpensive market towns are in County Durham.
The average house price in market towns is £231,163 at 7.1 times the average gross annual earnings.
Martin Ellis, of Lloyds TSB, said: “Homes in market towns command a significant premium over their neighbouring towns with the quality of life benefits often associated with living in such locations still proving popular among homebuyers. Market towns are often particularly attractive for those looking to move into more idyllic surroundings without sacrificing many of the important amenities they currently enjoy.”
A similar survey by the Bank of Scotland for rural areas north of the border reveals the average house price in rural Scotland rose by 130% (£93,561) from £71,872 in 2000 to £165,433 in 2010 – equivalent to a weekly increase of £180.
The most expensive rural local council area is East Lothian, with an average house price of £210,750, which is 27% above the Scottish rural average of £165,433. East Ayrshire (£107,515) is the least expensive.
Suren Thiru, housing economist at Bank of Scotland, said: “With the lifestyle benefits associated with residing in the countryside still resonating with homebuyers, rural properties continue to trade at a significant premium to homes in urban areas.”
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